Saturday, December 29, 2007

Movies and Such

Thanks to Blockbuster Online, I saw a couple of decent movies in the last few days:

Apocalypto - Quite a brutal, but interesting, story (directed by Mel Gibson) that takes place during the heights of the Mayan civilization. You see the grandeur and celebration at the temples but also the way the most powerful rulers pillaged villages in the surrounding forests to find human sacrifices. It's pretty bloody and graphic, but also quite suspenseful as, of course, one man gets away from his captors and spends most of the movie trying to outrun them. Oh, and it's done entirely in subtitles, which I didn't know ahead of time but didn't mind. [Actually, when I looked up the link on IMDB, I found out it had been nominated for quite a few movie awards - and won a handful]

Ocean's Thirteen - Yes, the third in the clever "ring of thieves" movies with a star-studded cast: Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Andy Garcia, Al Pacino, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Bernie Mac, Matt Damon (who's hilarious, by the way, as the geeky kid who really wants to be a cool cat like Pitt and Clooney but isn't)... In this one, the group works to steal profits from a hotel/casino owner who double-crossed one of their own. It was good, not as good as the first one, but OK. I figured out the twist at the end before it happened, while Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve surprised me, so enough said.

And there are actually a couple in the theaters I wouldn't mind seeing: Atonement, Juno, I Am Legend, National Treaure 2. It's just a matter of finding the time (sigh). Seen any good ones lately that you'd recommend?

Friday, December 28, 2007


I can't believe it's Friday already! Of course, I do love the way you lose track of the days when you're not working...

OK, here it is, the last Friday Feast of 2007!

Name 2 things you would like to accomplish in 2008.
I'd like to publish another book, and I would like to improve my fitness/workout regime. It's OK right now, but it could use some tweaking!

With which cartoon character do you share personality traits?
Cartoon character? Honestly, I don't even watch cartoons.

What time of day (or night) were you born?
Around 8:30 AM - my hubby tells me that's why I'm such a morning person and not a night owl!

Main Course
Tell us something special about your hometown.
My hometown growing up as a child: It's an old, historic New England town (translation: beautiful) that still has old hitching posts in front of many of the homes on Main Street.

My hometown now, as an adult: It's the site of one of the old sanitoriums, where people from New York City used to come to recover from tuberculosis. Even more interesting: Agnes von Kurowsky, the great love of Ernest Hemingway's life, worked as a nurse at this sanitorium for 3 years back in the 1920s.

If you could receive a letter from anyone in the world, who would you want to get one from?
Actually, my paternal grandfather, who passed away about 20 years ago. I'd like to know what he thinks of all I've accomplished..

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Climax, a Church, and a Cool Contest

Whew! It's been a lovely few days, celebrating Christmas with the various sides of the family, but I am glad to be home again! I am bound and determined to make some headway through the last few chapters of Summer's Song. I'm at the point leading up to, and including, the climax, which will be a challenge since I'm changing a lot of it, but oh well!

Hey, did you see this article about the church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, that gave away $50 to every member and then challenged people to double the amount? Pretty cool. And Chagrin Falls is a charming little town outside of Cleveland, by the way, in case you're ever driving through the state of Ohio and feel like stopping :)

And I can't leave today without mentioning the very cool contest that the folks over at The Long and the Short of It are running - you can win books! Doesn't everyone want to win books? Go forth and enter!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Mary Eason

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday ~ hope you're enjoying your holiday :) Today I'm chatting with chick lit author Mary Eason. Her novel The Things You Think You Want just released last month with Samhain, so let's find out a little bit more!

Hi, Mary! Thanks for stopping by during this busy holiday season. So, can you tell us about your latest writing project or published title?

My latest book, entitled The Things You Think You Want released through Samhain Publishing on November 27th. It is a chick lit romance that I’m very proud of because it has a lot of me in it. It's about a woman who realizes finding love is the easy part.

Carrie Sinclair thought she knew exactly what she wanted from life until she came face-to-face with the bluest eyes in Texas.

Ooh, I love that tagline! OK, what advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

Chances are, unless you are Nora Roberts you aren’t going to get rich by writing. Do it because you love it. Writing is a roller coaster ride. The highs are very high, but the lows can bring you to your knees if you aren’t tough. You have to find a way to learn not to take rejection personally.
What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?

I read many different romance genres, but my favorites are Romantic Suspense and Romantic Comedy. My favorite authors are Lisa Gardner, Rita Herron, Brenda Novak, Nora Roberts, and Lilly Winston.

Now for a tough question: What do you find most difficult about writing?

For me, the most difficult part of writing is the distractions from it. Today, with the internet, authors are required to do more of their own publicity. That in itself can be a full time job. It’s easy to get caught up in promoting and lose your writing time.

Very true! So what do you find most exciting or rewarding?
My favorite part of writing is seeing my name on the cover of my book and hearing that someone loved the story I created. There’s nothing like those two things to keep you going.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I love being with my family as well and with my granddaughter Ava. I’m a huge reader. I read everything I can get my hands on. Also, my hubby and I have a vacation home in the Colorado Rockies. We love spending time there.

That sounds amazing! So when you write, do you use the computer or compose by hand, oral dictation, or some other method?

My method of writing is my laptop. When I start a new project, I give myself permission to simply write the story that’s in my head all the way to the end without editing it.
Once I’m done, then the fine-tuning begins.

This has been a great interview. Anything else you’d like to mention?

Only that I love hearing from my readers. They can contact me at
And I’m always, always, always giving something away over on my website. So, stop by and check it out.

Other places to find Mary?

Thanks for being here today, Mary, and good luck with your writing!

Thanks so much for having me, Allie.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas Day...and if you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a peaceful day spent with people most important to you!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve!

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Winter Reading Challenge

Hey everyone, I blogged yesterday over at Samhain's Blog...and my post is a little lonely. Would you hop on over and maybe leave me a comment there?


Marianne posted yesterday about The Winter Reading Challenge, which seems like an excellent way to start the new year. 12 weeks of winter, or so, and given my time constraints, I think 6 books (+ an extra couple for LASR) will be the most I can attempt.

So here they are:

1. Nineteen Minutes - I've been wanting to read this one by Jodi Picoult, about a school shooting, for some time now. It's supposed to be pretty powerful...and not what you'd expect.

2. A Thousand Splendid Suns- The follow-up novel to The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. Loved the first one and have heard good things about this second one.

3. What is the What or A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (I put both on my Christmas list, so it depends on which one I get!)

4. Carrie Pilby - This chick lit novel by Caren Lissner features one of the characters from a novella in Scenes from a Holiday (see yesterday's post), and I found a copy used on Ebay. UPDATE: Entertaining enough, it's the story of a teenage genius who's just finished Harvard and is now living in NYC trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. There are some funny moments, as well as some poignant ones, though Carrie's "poor me" attitude kind of wore on me after awhile. I did like the main character, because she's not a typical chick lit heroine (she's smart and only 19, so her whining can be forgiven a little, I suppose). But I actually liked the novella in Scenes... better. The minor characters (especially Kara, Carrie's colorful, bisexual best friend) were more interesting, and the plot seemed tighter. Read that one if you have to choose; the saga about Carrie and her lack of a social life is about the same in both works.

5. The Red Tent - A fictional account of the life of Dinah (daughter of Leah and Jacob), written by Anita Diamant, this one's been recommended to me by a couple of students. UPDATE: Loved this book, a beautiful fictional retelling of this minor character from Genesis. It's a lovely, lyrical story highlighting the power of female friendships, motherhood, and the power of women, especially in a patriarchal society. The character development is rich, the scenes are moving, and it's also a really nice historic view into a long-ago time period. I highly recommend it!

6. Something by Tori Phillips - She's my new favorite historical romance author, and there are a few used copies of her books floating around Ebay too, so we'll see.

7. And whatever I decide to read and review for LASR.

Whew! What about you? Want to join the challenge? Or just share which books you'd like to read in 2008?