Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking Back on 2012

Spooky helping me write
Many things happened to me in 2012, some good, some bad. But the one that affected me the most was the passing of my beloved cat, Spooky.

She was 17 years old and had a failing liver. I was hoping she'd make it through the holiday season, but she didn't.

I got her from a shelter when I was living in Phoenix. She was a wee thing, an elegant tuxedo cat with a dribble of milk down her chin. She jumped on all fours, clinging to the gate that separated us, and meowed. I knew she was trouble, and I knew she was mine.

I named her Spooky because I was a huge fan of The X-Files and because she spooked easily. Loud noises, strangers, pretty much anything had her skittering to a hidey-hole.

She loved to burrow under blankets and I'd create "caves" for her. She loved high places, even though she didn't know how she'd get down. She loved to cuddle in the crook of my arm. She'd lick my nose to let me know she was happy.

I've had other cats, but Spooky was the one I was most bonded to. She'd perch on my printer, watching me as I wrote. If she thought I'd written enough, she'd sit on my keyboard until I picked her up and cuddled her.

Writing at my desk isn't the same anymore.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas to All, 2012 Edition

Happy holidays, everyone!

I've got some book reviews to catch up on and some screenwriting news to share, but that's all going to wait until the New Year.

Have a fabulous holiday season with your family and friends!

 And my gift to you are these singing penguins.

Bonus Video: San Francisco Jingle Penguins

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reader's Corner - November 2012 Update

"I'd make a kick-ass beauty queen."
November was a good reading month for graphic novels. I read Cardboard by Doug TenNapel, and a review is forthcoming, but let me tell you now, it is fantastic!

I also read Tune: Vanishing Point by Derek Kirk Kim. Another review forthcoming, and again, it's fantastic. (But a head's up, it is for older teens and adults.)

In audiobook news, I listened to Beauty Queens by the versatile Libba Bray. She narrates the audiobook, which includes 20 or so different characters. And while her British accents could use some work, there is very little to quibble over in this amazing and hilarious recording (another head's up as this is also for older teens and adults.) The audiobook includes an author Q & A portion, so keep listening after the credits.

Beauty Queens book trailer with the lovely Libba Bray:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Long Lankin Book Review

Title: Long Lankin
Author: Lindsey Barraclough
Publisher: Candlewick

Publication Date: July 10, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0763658083

464 pp.

ARC provided by publisher

I started reading this book just before Halloween, right when I was in the mood for a good scare.

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough tells the story of Cora and her sister Mimi. They are sent to live with their crochety Auntie Ida in an isolated English village. There are secrets afoot and a supernatural force that the children unwittingly unleash.

The writing is spookily atmospheric about Auntie Ida's crumbling house and the dangerous moors that surround it. The author also goes to great lengths to create the post-war England setting with details about things from cricket games to laundry soap. She alternative chapters between Cora and the village boy she meets, Roger, and sometimes even Ida gets a chapter of her own. Each chapter brings some new insight or twist and it's brilliantly done.

My one quibble with the story is that the author does all this rather leisurely. It takes quite awhile before the first big scare. And the scares are few and far between, until the ending. The ending is a powerhouse of supernatural action, but it takes about 400 pages to get there.

Considering that the book reads more middle grade than YA, the book may be too intimidating for some and less patient readers may put it down before they get to the good bits. So recommend Long Lankin to the voracious readers who will stick with it until the end.

Long Lankin book trailer:


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