Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Odd Thomas

I finished my...8th or 9th...can't remember and too lazy to go find the yesterday.
I said in a previous post that Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas was the first in a trilogy. I was mistaken. When I first became interested in reading these books, it was a trilogy. In the time that it has been on my list, it has become a series.

There are four books now, and as the Almighty Google has just informed me, two graphic novels.

My plan is to find the whole series, read it in the next couple of weeks and then pass them on to my Grandma for her birthday. I'm relying on the fact that Koontz is generally shelved in horror and not mystery- because she's read everything in the mystery section.

I think she'll like these though. She'll definitely be engaged immediately, which is something she needs. My grandma is kind of hard to buy books for because she has an even shorter attention span than I do. If she's not completely hooked in the first 40 pages, she'll give up. It's frustrating to a certain extent, because I could never buy her something like The Gargoyle. Ultimately, I think she'd really like it, but she would never take the time to get there.

The purpose of this blog was to review Odd Thomas, not talk about shopping for my grandma. Although, in a roundabout way, I've gotten to the review.

Odd Thomas, the story of a young man in a small world (a town called Pico Mundo) can see the dead. Not all of them, but the ones who choose to hang around, mostly because they have unfinished business, so they come to Odd and bug him until he takes care of it for them.

Because Dean Koontz primarily writes what better falls into the horror genre, this is a mystery that reads at the pace of horror. I flew through 500 pages in a matter of days, because he hooks you with a minor, but very engaging, incident at the very beginning, and then dives right into the larger plot.

Mostly, it's fluff. There are some thoughts about destiny, some twisted family values, but for the most part, it's a beach book. But it's a GOOD beach book; I enjoyed it, and am looking forward to the next one. I recommend it, because everyone needs a little fluff in their lives.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


My first pair of socks was a success. They came out far larger than I thought they would, but that's not my fault. My gauge was correct, as was the weight of the yarn that I used (some lovely 100% Merino wool from Norway, if you're interested) so I can only assume that the pattern is just very large. This is why I'm calling them booties rather than socks. These can be used for layering.

Next up I'm going to try a different baby sock pattern, to hopefully get some sock sized socks, and then move on to adult socks. First thing out of Ben's mouth- "Can you make them bigger? Like, for me?"

Of course I can. I already have a pattern in mind.

I do want to learn to knit soon though, because there are much prettier knit sock patterns. And men's cardigans that don't look like they were intended for five year olds or 90 year olds. There's some middle ground in knit that I haven't found in crochet yet.

However, Scriptfrenzy starts in five days, so the yarn may take a back burner...not completely, because I'm addicted and I need my serotonin fix, but I'm sure I'll be blogging more about writing than socks in the next couple of weeks.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Just Don't Get It Wet

Dog walking has been a great job, thus far. I got my first paycheck in months today, which was a glorious moment.
The only day that has really sucked so far was Wednesday when it rained, and was cold, and I was wet because I couldn't find those rain boots. However, I ordered a pair; they should be here Monday. Hooray.

This week I met the Maltese that I get to walk. I'm fairly certain he's a gremlin. I'm hesitant to take him out in the rain.

Seriously, this little non-dog is insane. He weighs approximately 3 ounces...I bet I could pick him up with two fingers...and he is a blindingly white (in the sun) little bundle of energy.

The first day I met him, I let him out of his crate and he was so excited that he was literally jumping two feet off the floor. No running start, just straight up, like a pogo stick.

Yesterday, when we were out, he decided that he was going to chase birds, and forgot that he was on a leash. He took off at full speed towards the robins, got to the end of the rope and LAUNCHED into the air, did a full 360 IN THE AIR and then came back down.

Thank god he had a harness, not a collar, or he would have snapped his twiggy little neck.
Can you imagine what this thing will be like if I add water??

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Alchemist


I found this book entirely average. It was an interesting story, at least from the perspective of someone who really enjoyed the class on fairy tales that she took in college, but I had no mindblowing spiritual revelation. From what I've heard about the book, I thought that I was supposed to. Very similar to the Shack, although this one is less about religion and more about humanity, it's an interesting concept, and there are life lessons in it that honestly I got out of life, and I'm not sure why anyone would need Paulo Coelho to spell them out, but from the amount of time this spent on the bestseller list, I guess lots of people do. Overall, interesting, quick read, so even if you hate it, it's not that much of your life wasted.

In other news, we're going from 60 degrees and sunny today to sleet tomorrow. Would you believe that now that I actually WANT a pair of those stupid-looking rubber boots that everyone and their mother wears I can't find them anywhere?!

Yes, of course, you should believe it; that's my life.
I'll just take refuge in a coffee shop between walks. I just hope the ice stops early, because I do NOT want to ride the bike in ice.
Now: owl mitts, reading, curling up with my favorite boyfriend.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Book number 6 this year was not part of a trilogy (that I know of). I finally got around to reading Stargirl. I was never a huge fan of Jerry Spinelli when I was younger, and I'm still not. He's certainly not terrible, but there was no...spark.

Stargirl is a very easy, if predictable, read. I like her character, she's different, interesting. Leo I find a little flat. That said, I really like the perspective of the narration, it's very much like The Virgin Suicides, and I think it makes the book better than it would have if it was narrated by Stargirl herself.

But overall, meh. Didn't hate it, but didn't love it; there was nothing spectacular about it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Year of the Trilogy

I am officially declaring this The Year of the Trilogy.


Because thus far this year I have read:
the third installment in the Hunger Games Trilogy
all three books in the Wicked Years trilogy
one third of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy (girl with the dragon tattoo, etc.)

Yesterday, I found the coolest bookstore ever (nothing over $3!! and for some brand new books!!) and I bought...wait for it...

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz...the first in a trilogy.


Angela's Ashes, the first of Frank McCourt's three books. Which is kind of like a trilogy, since I'm planning on reading 'Tis next and have already read Teacher Man.

If you haven't read Teacher Man, get yourself a copy. Mr. McCourt is fantastic. Which is why I'm including him in my year of the trilogy.

And when I'm done with the aforementioned trilogies, I might go in search of some more :)
Right now, I'm going to go in search of my third drink in the vodka/cranberry trilogy...which might become a series, later. We'll see.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Your St. Patrick's Day Playlist

For all your Irish needs: sing-a-longs, drink-a-longs, and general shenanigans.

These two are Seen them live :)

There you have it- Irish music from REAL Irish people...not posers. Have a happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Puppy Love

Starting one's day at work with a not-quite-3-month-old black lab puppy is the best. For real. My job is better than yours, guarantee it.

Because not only do I get to start with a puppy, but I get to continue with a whole lineup of nice dogs and end my days (for now, til my schedule gets bigger) with a GORGEOUS retired greyhound. Seriously, she's one beautiful and glamorous lady.

Needless to say (and yet, here I go) I think this job is going to be awesome.

The only drawback is that I'm incredibly tired. So this blog will be short. I don't know if I want to go read, or crochet with my new alpaca/silk blend lace, or just go to bed.

It's only 8pm...going to bed would be kinda lame. Movie, maybe?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Two for One Review

As promised, two reviews.

Son of a Witch- Gregory Maguire

The sequel to Wicked picks up more or less, more like less, where the first one left off. At the end of Wicked, we want to know what happened to Nor. And Liir, but more Nor. We find out what happens to Liir in a kind of roundabout story. It's not bad, I actually rather liked it, as Liir grows up and what begins with him following Dorothy like a puppy ends with him finding his destiny (as Elphaba's son, which is something that he fought the whole time).

We're never really sure, either, if he is Elphaba's son or not, until the very end, when....


he finds the little girl born to him and Candle...and she's green.

Overall, a good story, and I'd recommend it. The sequel, like the first one, touches a lot on the themes of right vs. wrong, good vs. evil and this one throws in the theme of fate/destiny. Liir spends the majority of the novel fighting who he is, and who people want him to be, and the whole time while doing this, he is really fulfilling his purpose, and eventually he comes to embrace who he is- the son of the Wicked Witch.

A Lion Among Men - also Gregory Maguire

The third and, I believe, final book in the Wicked Years trilogy.

Honestly, this book was almost wholly unnecessary. We finally find out what happens to Nor, from the first book. We do not, however, see Liir or the second green girl again.

Mother Yackle is an interesting character, but we didn't need to know what happens to her. The Cowardly Lion's story is completely irrelevant. This one also touches on the destiny/fate theme from the last one, but these characters are so far removed from the original story, that I just didn't care. There was one revelation about who exactly informed on Elphaba and Fiyero, and we find out where Nor's been, but other than that, the book is, while entertaining, irrelevant.

Two and a half goals for today accomplished. I finished my fifth book for the year, wrote the above reviews and went to knitting group. It was raining, so I did not trek to the library with my inside out umbrella, but hopefully it will be nice tomorrow. I also haven't written a chapter. It might happen tonight, but I've got a headache and I'm hungry so it likely won't. Maybe I'll start a new book. Or work on some crochet.

Or just watch a movie and be a bum.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's good to have goals

Little progress was made today. Or yesterday. Although I did clean the kitchen and the bathroom yesterday, so that's something.

I did also post the first chapter of my novel on Scribophile, and had one critique that thought I "left the reader in the dark" about Madison's character, and that it was slightly dry and cliche.

Yeah, I'll give him that. Slightly dry and cliche, that is. If I knew how to make it better, I would.

However, I will not change the "in the dark" part because that's the POINT.
She doesn't share. Anything. With anybody. It's kind of a MAJOR plot point later. (Granted, this person doesn't know this. I won't hold it against him.)

Goals for tomorrow:

-Finish A Lion Among Men, and write a two part review of that and the previous book in the trilogy, Son of a Witch.
-Write a chapter
-Go to knitting group
-Possibly get a library card

And possibly sweep the rest of the apartment that I didn't clean yesterday, but it doesn't need it that badly yet, so we'll see.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Of First Sentences and No Snow

I'm so incredibly glad to be in Phila, today.
When I talked to my mother at 9.30 this morning there was TWO FEET of snow and counting. Here? 50ish and sunny. Glorious.

Last night and today I finished going through the list of markets that I had marked as "promising" in my Writer's Digest list of the top 75 web markets.
There are a ridiculous amount of them devoted to sci-fi and fantasy. Don't people get bored with that? I do.

However, there were a few that I could submit to. Brevity, for one. Also, some flash fiction sites. I might try my hand at some flash later. Before I go crochet with some Glee-runs I think I'll critique one more piece on Scribophile, a writer's community, so that I can earn enough Karma to post my first chapter of The Smell of Rain and get some more critique for that.

I have to rework the first chapter a bit tomorrow, though. I just don't feel alert enough to do it right now, but I'm pretty sure my first line has been lurking somewhere around paragraph five. It's a much better hook than what I've currently got. Well, here, what do you think?

Never let it be said that Madison Longwell left without saying goodbye.

Want to know more?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

T minus 26 Days Until...


Do you know where your characters are? How 'bout your plot? neither.

That's what the next 26 days are for.
I had every intention, at the end of February, to have my own NaNoWriMo for the month of March and crank out another novel because, hey, I have the time. And then that week from Hell happened, and I completely forgot.

In case you're wondering, Ben DID get the stomach bug, and I've spent the last two days making him Jello and watching movies with him. Which I'm not complaining about. I'm sorry, of course, that I got him sick, but it was nice at the same time to spend two days doing nothing with him.

Anyway, since I'm six days into my would-have-been month of noveling, I'm going to make it the month of revisions, market searching, and short pieces. Oh right, and plotting, so I can be ready April 1 to kick off Scriptfrenzy.

My goals, for every day this month, except perhaps the occasional Sunday (because time off is just as important) are to spend some time doing one or more of the following things:

-Searching for markets for my work
-Revising any of the three screenplays in their first draft stage from past Frenzies and an independent study.
-Researching for the other completed novel (and by completed, I mean a ridiculous and thoroughly unresearched 50,000 words. It won me NaNo though, and for that, I was pleased)
-Writing short pieces.
-Plotting for Scriptfrenzy '11
-Working on a novel that I've had kicking around for quite awhile.

I knooooowww...I said short projects up there ^^ But this project got back into my head the other day, and I think I can make it work. So aside from that the focus of this month is revision/research.

Hopefully I'll have progress to update you on each day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

In like a Lion

If the actual meaning of the phrase "March comes in like a Lion" is "the beginning of March sucks" then yes, it is quite accurate.

I've given up the daily picture nonsense. I stopped posting because we had the week from hell at home, and now that things are better I just don't care to continue.

Where to start.
Last Tuesday-Wednesday: Little sister got the stomach bug that's going around.
Friday morning: Mother gets the stomach bug, passes out, hits her head, stitches, bruising, ER visit, etc.

Friday afternoon: I get the call about above morning, asking if I'll come home to help take care of dogs/wood stove/etc.
I leave in the beginning of rush hour, it takes me almost 6 hours to make a 4 hour trip. It was 60 and raining when I left here, and I was greeted at home, at 9.30 at night, with a foot of snow in the driveway in which my car proceeded to get stuck. Half in the driveway, half in the road. Thankfully a neighbor drove by and he ended up pushing my car into the driveway with his.

Saturday: spent the morning clearing the driveway of snow with a shovel. It's LOADS of fun. Ran some errands.
Saturday Afternoon/Evening: In the middle of filling the wood stove, I step on a huge nail- I end up in the ER for a tetanus booster and antibiotics. Lovely.

Sunday: Resting the foot, but it's the left one so I'm prepared to drive back to Phila Monday morning.

Sunday Night: About 11pm, I get the stomach bug. Literally spend the night on the bathroom floor. Most horrific bug I have ever had.

Wednesday: Finally made it back here, battered and tired.

About five minutes ago: Boyfriend walks through, tells me he thinks he may have picked up the bug, even though I was 36 hours clear of symptoms when I came home.