Thursday, December 18, 2008

Music for the holidays

I don't hold myself out there as a music critic. But I know what I like. And I like Christmas music that makes me smile and gives me energy to get things done while I'm listening to it (or keeps me awake if I'm in the car).

The Keith Taylor Trio's jazzy O Christmas Tree-O is just such a CD. And it's available on CDBaby. Check it out. It will put a smile on your face and a HO-HO-HO in your heart!

(In the interest of full disclosure, Jim Cavender, the bass player on the cd and the one in the middle in the picture is my cousin-in-law. He's also the one who introduced me to my husband many years ago. So he's long held a special place in my heart. But that doesn't mean the cd's not good. It's fabulous!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

First page

Three months ago I felt brave (or stupid) one day and sent off page one of the mystery that follows Redneck Tarot (tentatively titled Redneck Hex) to Dear Author, a mostly romance review blog that posts first pages from readers each Saturday for other readers to critique.

Mine is up this week.

The critiquers have been very kind and insightful, offering constructive criticism about every item on the page, something I've noticed each week as I've read and often commented on the other first pages that have appeared.

So, if you're feeling brave (or stupid) and you've got a first page that you'd like some feedback on, give Dear Author a shot. Then read and comment on the others each Saturday. It's only fair that you offer clear, constructive, kind criticism to the brave souls who put their work out if you expect the same in return. And be patient. Like I said, I submitted in September, but it was worth the wait.

Now, I just need to get to work on revisions.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bought books for the holidays

As you can see by the widget to the left, I'm supporting buying books for the holidays. I finally made my contribution this evening, ordering several books as gifts for my mom, my nephew and my husband.

One of the best things about buying books as gifts, especially ahead of the gift-giving day, you can read them yourself first! Of course, you have to be careful not to spill coffee or red wine on them or let the cats gnaw on them or drop them on the floor where the dog will think they're a chew toy. But, if you can avoid all that, then books give their gifts at least twice.

So rush right out a buy a book for your favorite loved one or as a hostess gift or for your mother-in-law this Christmas. In these hard economic times writers and publishers need your support, and you can't beat a book for entertainment value.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Lessons learned and belated thanksgiving

No, I didn't finish 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I got to 20,000 and realized a couple of things:

1. The book was going nowhere, at least nowhere I could figure. The GPS had completely quit after leading me down increasingly narrow roads with no view.

2. If I'm going to participate in the challenge again, and I might, I have to go in more prepared. I decided on a whim, on the last day to sign up, to participate this year, thinking maybe it would spur some sort of fantastical writing. But, alas, it didn't. I need to go in with more than a tiny spark of an idea that sounded great in my head at two o'clock in the morning, but somehow didn't translate to more than 20,000 words--and it required stops at numerous metaphorical gas stations to ask directions to get that far.

Because I'd essentially abandoned the idea before Thanksgiving (I traveled with my laptop, just in case. Mostly it sat in my room calling my name occasionally but without much hope.) I had a really good Thanksgiving.


That's a picture of our view from the Thanksgiving dinner table. (Thanks to Catherine Head, a cousin, for providing the photo!) Much of my husband's family migrated to south Florida over the last 15 years or so, (this was taken on the Isles of Capri) a series of moves for which we are especially grateful come Thanksgiving.

I'm thankful that his family is warm and welcoming and generous and fun. And on top of all that, they offer the sunshine and beauty of South Florida at a time when home (Atlanta area) is cold, gray and dreary!