persimmonfrost: (caddy)

It’s cookie-baking weather.  I’ve gotten three contest entries so far and they’re all good.  Someone post one that sends me over the moon, willya?  Remember this is for a free copy of Devil in the Details from Silver Publishing.

And now I have to go send DCMA notices to about a dozen bittorrent sites.  I fucking hate piracy.

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)

I finally figured out how to use this new web builder program… after a fashion.  At least enough to get my author site updated.  I’ll continue to work on it, of course.  It’s sloppy not to keep it somewhat fresh, especially since I shut down my author Facebook this week.  (Facebook’s new pay-to-play policy on posts.  I don’t think so!)

English: Standard ingredients of chocolate-chi...

Anyway, tomorrow Devil in the Details is being released, and it’s time for a contest!  Now a lot of you will remember my infamous Breakfast Cookies, aka Never Twice the Same Cookie, so called because what I put into the basic batter is always different. Always.  Sometimes it’s several different types of dried fruit, other times its a mix of chopped nuts.  I’ve used cocoa nibs, crystallized ginger, garam masala… you name it, I’ve probably tried it.  Sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s always an adventure.  I’ve posted the recipe a couple of times and I’m reliably informed that the cookies are always a big hit.  They also play a part in the seduction of my hero.  Oh yes, Rafe can be had for a couple of these cookies, though he wouldn’t actually admit it.

So here’s the deal: I’m going to publish the ingredient list for the basic cookie below.  What I want from you lot is your ideal NTtSC cookie.  Tell me what you would add to it to make it the cookie of your dreams.  Peanut butter?  Cocoa powder?  Rose water? Yogurt? Ground beef? (Yeah that would be a hard sell, but maybe you could convince me.)  I’m going to pick the cookie ingredient list that sounds the best — and most likely to succeed — and award a copy of Devil in the Details to the hedonistic cookie lover who thought it up.

So here’s the basic ingredient list:

1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

You don’t have to give me quantities; the only reason I include them above is that it will give you a bit of an idea of what the cookie is like. (For non-bakers, it’s a big, soft, almost cakelike cookie.)  Just tell me what you’d mix in.  Spices, maybe herbs? (I love basil with chocolate!), fruit, dried or fresh; nuts, nut butters, some form of chocolate, flavoring agents… seriously, people, knock yourselves out.  What blows your skirt up, cookiewise?

I will give you until 6 p.m. central time Monday to come up with your grand creation.  I will announce the winner either on Monday night or Tuesday morning.  And I may just use your ideas to make my next batch of cookies!

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)

I received my personal and review copies of “Devil in the Details” today which means that it’s really, truly going to happen.  Woo hoo!  Here’s an excerpt for you to whet your appetite:

“So I can expect your answer tomorrow, then?” Gavin asked, brushing Rafe’s face with impeccably-manicured fingers. “I know it will be the right one.” There was no tenderness in either his tone or his touch. He was threatening Rafe.

Rafe slipped free of his seatbelt and opened the car door. “I’ll call you when I get home from school,” he promised. Once out of the car, Rafe had to will himself not to run to the door of his apartment building. He unlocked the door with hands that shook. Only when the door was closed and locked behind him, and Rafe heard Gavin’s car pull out of the driveway, did he allow himself to relax. He slumped against the wall and took several deep, calming breaths. The dancing skeleton decorations that lined the hallway grinned down at him. Normally Rafe liked Halloween, but those skeletons were laughing at him.

Rafe was in trouble. Unless he could find some way out of this mess before the end of the school day tomorrow, he was going to end up spending the rest of his life with Gavin. The idea made him physically ill.

Rafe jumped as the elevator door slid open with a rattle, and Mrs Lempo’s dog, Romeo, came bounding out. He was followed by a somewhat more staid Mrs Lempo in her tatty old fisherman’s sweater and granny shoes. Romeo was so happy to see Rafe that his tail wagged the whole back half of his little sweater-clad body.

“Hey, boy!” Rafe squatted to pet the dachshund, who gave him adoring kisses, and made Rafe laugh. He was grateful for the distraction, and for the opportunity to be uncomplicatedly happy for a few moments. “Mrs Lempo, it’s too late for you to be walking Romeo by yourself.”

“Nothing will happen to us. I have my police whistle and Romeo is a very brave dog, aren’t you my angel?”

Romeo answered with a joyous yip that lifted his front half an inch or two off the ground. Rafe could swear Romeo was grinning. In his orange sweater he looked a bit like an elongated jack-o’-lantern.

“You see?”

Rafe was unconvinced. Brave wiener dog and police whistle notwithstanding, he still didn’t like the idea of Mrs Lempo out walking this late by herself. He also figured a little decompression time would be a good thing. “Well then let me walk with you for company,” he told her. A stroll in the cool night air and some easy conversation would be good for him, help him clear his head.

“Rafe, you look unhappy. Are you all right?”

“I have a lot on my mind is all.” They stepped out and he took her arm. “It’s a beautiful evening, isn’t it? Autumn is the best season here in Chicago.” He liked Mrs Lempo, but Rafe didn’t want to talk about what was going on in his life. Instead they chatted about the weather, the new coffee house nearby and how time tended to fly as one grew older. Rafe, who had recently turned twenty-five didn’t quite have the perspective she did, though he wasn’t certain how old she was. She could have been a well-worn forty or a well-preserved two hundred for all he knew.

“The place is beautiful!” she was saying, talking about the coffee house. “You really should see for yourself.”

“I plan to, but when I’ve got a bit more time.”

“Oh you kids, you think so many things are more important than coffee.” She laughed. “I admit they don’t make coffee as well as I do, but the pastries are superb.”

“I’ll be sure to try it soon, I promise.”

They took a pleasant stroll around the block looking at the Halloween decorations. It was a popular holiday in the Chicago area, and a great many homes and businesses went all out to decorate. Grinning pumpkins watched them pass, and strange, half-glimpsed, and often unsettling things swung from tree branches above them.

Romeo did what he needed to do, which included chasing a large maple leaf that was skittering down the sidewalk, and Rafe returned to the apartment building feeling a little calmer. Mrs Lempo was good for his perspective.

Unfortunately, as they were entering the building, Rafe spotted Gavin’s car parked down the block and realized Gavin had parked there to spy on him, a notion that made him feel sick to his stomach. Was this what his life was going to be like? He thought seriously about marching over to the car and smashing the windshield with a rock. “There’s your answer!” he wanted to shout, and maybe smash Gavin’s face, too.

“You coming, Rafe?” Mrs Lempo was holding the door for him.

Anger gave way to brief, overwhelming despair. How could he live like that? How on earth could he allow Gavin to dictate everything he did, everyone he spoke to?

But then despair gave way to determination. As he rode upstairs with Mrs Lempo and Romeo, he decided he wouldn’t give in to Gavin’s demands without a fight even if it meant getting help from some dangerous sources.

Rafe walked Mrs Lempo to her door, which was just past his own. He told her he couldn’t let her walk the whole way by herself at this hour of the night.

She seemed amused. “You’re such a nice boy, Rafe. Could I interest you in a cup of coffee?” she asked. A glittery black wreath hung on her door, and Rafe thought he really should put up his own decorations, though he simply wasn’t in the mood to celebrate anything.

“Normally I’d say yes, but I know your coffee all too well, Mrs L. I wouldn’t get to sleep until December if I drank a cup now. ‘Strong as temptation, hot as Hell, and black as sin,’” he quoted, making her laugh.

“Yes that’s the way I like it, poppet. Where I come from, we all drink it like that. But I do have some half and half for the less adventurous.”

“Another time, thank you. Night, Romeo.”

The little dog yipped again and trotted into the apartment.

“Night, Mrs L.”

“Night, Rafe.”

Once safely inside his own apartment, he took off his jacket and went to fetch some salt and a photo of Gavin. He didn’t normally resort to this sort of thing, but living with Gavin was the worst fate he could imagine; going to Hell didn’t seem a lot worse, particularly in his circumstances. He drew a circle with the salt, sat down in front of it and began to chant.

“By my will I invoke thee, Agrimillit, by my will I call thee to my circle.” He couldn’t fight Gavin’s money and power, so if he needed to get help to level the playing field a little, he was willing to do it. “By my will I invoke thee…”

There was a fracturing of light within the circle and the funky smell he’d learned to associate with demon summoning. “By my will I call thee…” A flash of light blinded Rafe momentarily and as his vision cleared he saw the demon in all its hoofed and horned glory.

“Who invokes my presence?” it intoned. “Oh, it’s you, Rafe. What’s up?” The demon was looking down at Rafe, scratching the base of one of his curving blue horns with a wicked looking claw. Little licks of flame flickered across its head and shoulders.

“Shit, did you have to blind me?”

“Sorry, sorry. That light flash isn’t really working for me either; I can’t see a damn thing for the first few seconds afterwards.”

“Yeah that could be a problem.”

It’ll be out officially on Saturday but you can purchase it now if you want.  You do want to, don’t you?

I’m also attempting to update my website.  I’ve been having a hard time trying to find a web editor that I like and that likes me.  The free ones were quirky at best and at worst made me jump through hoops before I could publish.  I finally opted for a mid-price program that’s supposed to be easy but I’m not finding it to be quite as simple as promised.  Still, the project is coming along and I hope to have it finished by the end of the weekend.

In honor of that and the publication, I’ll be running a contest for a copy of Devil in the Details.  Stay tuned for details!

 

 

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)

Fragonard: Young Girl, Reading

I fell down on my reading this year.  I’m not sure why.  Part of it had to do with the fact that the challenges I set for myself failed to engage my interest.  And part of it was that I was working more hours at my editing job, and writing more; I have two novellas being published between this month and spring.

But I like the idea of reading challenges.  Just saying “Hey, I’m gonna read 50 books this year!” isn’t as structured as I’d like, but promising myself that I’ll read 20 books on some esoteric subject is way more structured than I want to be, and probably as doomed to failure as the former sort of challenge.  What to do, what to do?

Another young girl, reading

First, I’m not going to sweat it.  I’ll read what I read.  But one thing I’d like to do is explore the Rory Gilmore reading list.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about here, then you never watched The Gilmore Girls, which is a shame because it was a smart, funny show (at least up to the final season which sucked rocks.) Rory was a voracious reader, and in the course of the however many seasons the show ran, mentioned reading a whole lot of books.  Bookreviews.me.uk posted a Rory Gilmore reading challenge and a list of those books taken from this forum, but she removed the travel and cookbooks.  I’m leaving them on the list below because I think they’re perfectly valid reading.  It’s varied enough that there’s always something there I’ll want to read, so I’ve decided to make this my main reading challenge for 2013.  I want to get through 20 of these.  That doesn’t mean it’s all I’ll read, but 20 of these books will be a big chunk of good reading for me.

The list below doesn’t reflect the books I’ve already read and which are not eligible for the challenge even if I do choose to reread them.  I just don’t have the energy to go through and note them right now.  There are 339 of them!

1984 by George Orwell
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
The Art of Fiction by Henry James
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Babe by Dick King-Smith
Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
The Bhagava Gita
The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
Candide by Voltaire
The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
Christine by Stephen King
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
The Collected Short Stories by Eudora Welty
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty
A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (pére)
Cousin Bette by Honor’e de Balzac
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Cujo by Stephen King
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Deenie by Judy Blume
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
The Divine Comedy by Dante
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Don Quijote by Cervantes
Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
Eloise by Kay Thompson
Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
Emma by Jane Austen
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Ethics by Spinoza
Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Extravagance by Gary Krist
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
Fletch by Gregory McDonald
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
The Graduate by Charles Webb
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Group by Mary McCarthy
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
Henry V by William Shakespeare
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
Howl by Allen Gingsburg
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
The Iliad by Homer
I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronté
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Love Story by Erich Segal
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Manticore by Robertson Davies
Marathon Man by William Goldman
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Night by Elie Wiesel
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Old School by Tobias Wolff
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
Oracle Night by Paul Auster
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Othello by Shakespeare
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Property by Valerie Martin
Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Quattrocento by James Mckean
A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings Book 3 by J. R. R. Tolkien
R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
Roman Holiday by Edith Wharton
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition
Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
Sanctuary by William Faulkner
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James
The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
Selected Hotels of Europe
Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
Sexus by Henry Miller
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Shane by Jack Shaefer
The Shining by Stephen King
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Small Island by Andrea Levy
Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
Songbook by Nick Hornby
The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
Stuart Little by E. B. White
Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
Time and Again by Jack Finney
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Trial by Franz Kafka
The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Ulysses by James Joyce
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Unless by Carol Shields
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronté
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

I’ve seen a couple of other versions of the list but I like this one; it seems complete.  Of course my plans could change by Jan 1st., I make no claims that they won’t.  But this looks like fun.
Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)
Brian Blessed

BOLLOCKS!

So about seven this morning I’m awakened by Brian Blessed shouting “BOLLOCKS!” which is my text alert.  It took me about a minute to even process this since the only person who ever texts me is Glinda who should have been on her way to work.  Turns out she’s outside, freaking out about the hissing sound coming from the new gas meter/pipes outside. I step out in my tee and undies (Yes, I sleep in a tee and panties, deal.) with my wrist braces still on, listen, hear the hissing and race back inside before anyone else sees me.  Promise to find out what’s going on.

Now every other morning since the dawn of time it seems, the gas company has been out here by 7:30 or so, tearing up the street, but today?  No sign of them.  So finally I call and talk to a woman who keeps asking me to describe the noise.  I keep saying “Hissing.” She keeps asking.  Says to call back when I hear it again and hold the phone to the pipes so she can hear it too.  I hang up, text Glinda that I think it’s okay because nobody seems very worried.  She remains unconvinced.

About 8:45 the workers show up to install the meter next door.  I race out — yes, I’m actually dressed by now — and ask the guy who I talked to a couple of days ago when the thing was installed.  He’s about ten feet away and I say, “Is this thing supposed to be making this noise?” and he knows exactly what I’m talking about.  Turns out it’s totally normal; it’s the sound of the pressure being reduced as the gas goes from medium pressure external lines into lower pressure internal ones.  So good, we’re not going to blow up today. I email Glinda to that effect.  She asks if that came from the crew.

LOL, I thought I was the paranoid one.

Anyway now I’m up.  I’m not really what you’d call awake, but I’m up and I keep thinking I should do something constructive.  I’m trying to finish a book (3000 words to go) and for a particular reason it’s got to be done this week.  But I’m so tired I don’t know that I can think straight.

House on Haunted Hill

I stayed up late last night because I got involved watching The House on Haunted Hill which I’d never seen before.  A William Castle horror extravaganza, it was one of those big, dopey horror flicks in which there’s not an IQ over 50 in the bunch which is good because if anyone had a brain there’d be no movie.  And here’s the thing that really made me want to fling my shoe at the TV: Through the whole film one character spends all his time warning the others about the ghosts.  However virtually everything that happens is as a result of human not ghostly action, so when at the end he says “They’re coming for me next.” I’m like “Dude, are you high? You just got told who did the murders and it wasn’t ghosts.  Get a grip!”

Why did I start watching?  Well I’d caught the last half of The Haunting earlier in the evening, and when that was over,

Cover of "The Haunting"

The Uninvited came on.  The Haunting is one of my favorite films, and for my money one of the best horror films ever made.  I refer, of course, to the 1963 original with Claire Bloom and Julie Harris, not the horrifically bad remake which turned a wonderful, tight, scary story by Shirley Jacksoninto a nonsensical hack-and-slash fest.

 

The Uninvited came on right after The Haunting, and it’s been years since I’d seen it, so I thought I’d make a night of it.  It wasn’t as good as I remembered, but it was fun.  By the time it was over I was pretty much stuck to my chair which was why I stayed up.  I very nearly decided to follow up with Dead of Night but common sense prevailed and I set it to record instead.  The Innocents was on after that, but I’d seen it recently, and much as I enjoy it, I wasn’t in the mood to rewatch it again this soon.

I think I had a point somewhere along the way about the nature of horror and real-life fear, but I’m not quite remembering what it was, and what I do  remember doesn’t seem nearly as profound as it did when I was stumbling around here in my underwear trying to find a number for the gas company.  I think the bottom line, for me anyway, is that like any  other kind of movie, horror just makes me forget that there is anything bad out there.  I suppose that’s why Glinda and I have a pact.  If either of us is ever in the hospital dying, the other will make sure that the Lord of the Rings trilogy (And probably The Hobbit) is playing as non-stop as we can manage.  If I’m going to go like that, I want to feel as if I’m headed towards Middle-Earth, not some hole in the ground, thank you very much.

 

Cate Blanchett portrays Galadriel in The Lord ...

Go back to bed

 

 

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)

The Units in front of the garden

I was adopted at birth.  I know a little about my biological family because it was a private adoption, and my two sets of parents met.  Apparently my biological mother wanted to meet the woman who would become my mother because she felt that as long as Mom was a good person I’d be okay.  I have a lot of reason to be grateful to her because I was eminently okay. Due respect to the people who made me, but the folks to the left were the only parents I ever knew or wanted.  I’ve had friends who badgered me about finding my biological family and while I admit to some curiosity, it was never enough to provoke me to go searching.  As I like to say, ask Pandora about opening boxes.

Still, I am sometimes curious. Mom told me that my mother was a little woman; I’m not.  Apparently I take after my biological father who was a big man with a lazy eye, a problem I had as a child. Years later that was just another clue that I had Native American blood, a fact confirmed by my dentist who checked my teeth and said “Yup, you’re missing the Carabelli Cusp.”  I also think I have a small talon cusp on my incisors.  The missing Carabelli is something peculiar to NA and Pacific island populations, and the talon is pretty strictly Native American.  I have a lot of other minor traits that point to NA ancestry.  So I did get to wondering what I’d find if I had my DNA analyzed.

I had the mitochondrial (mother’s) DNA test done as part of the National Genographic Project back in 2007 when it cost something like $20.  What I got back was really confusing and pointed to some interesting origins — not NA, that would have come from my bio father.  My haplogroup is U6a (The Cheddar Man was a U5. Interestingly enough the U6 haplogroup is not found among Native American populations,) and the origins I discovered are: CameroonOuldeme, Cameroon – PodokwoCape Verde, England, France, Hungary, Iraq – Mizrachi, Ireland, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Poland – Ashkenazi, Portugal, Tunisia – Sephardic, Ukraine, United Kingdom.  If I understand the results correctly I can also claim kinship with certain north and west Africans and three different Jewish groups, Mizrachi, Ashkenaz, and Sephardic.  I find that pretty damn exciting.  Am I proud?  Hell yes, I’m proud.  They’re distant connections but I’m thrilled to have them.  And we’re travelers. Here’s a map of the frequency distribution of the U haplogroups:

Apparently my bio mother’s people are from France and Denmark.

What is this in aid of?  I guess it’s about saying that family is a lot of different things.  There’s the family of love and affinity, the one I had for so many years, a family of choice rather than blood, but no less strong or meaningful because of it.  There’s the biological family that gives you things like the shape of your teeth and the color of your eyes.  And there are greater families, genetic or just the human family that encompasses everyone who has ever lived and will ever live.  Differences seem pointless when considered in light of all the generations that made each one of us.

You want to know something crazy?  I look like my adoptive parents.  I have similar physical ailments.  And I’m the same sort of eccentric they were.  You want to put some kind of mystical had-to-happen spin on that, feel free.  I sometimes do.  We are who we are for reasons we may never entirely understand.  I find that comforting; it allows us to be so much more.

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

R.I.P. Boo

Sep. 13th, 2012 12:03 pm
persimmonfrost: (caddy)

I’m sorry to have to report that little Boo passed this morning.  I don’t know many details; he was with specialists when he died.  His family did everything they could to save him, but in the end, I suspect he just didn’t have it in him to go on much longer.  He needed a lot of love in a short time, and he got it with Diane and her family.

Go in peace, little man.  Whatever is next, you have a whole lot of love stored up in you now.

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)

I see a lot of stories about dogs and cats who have been rescued and a few of them have really touched me.  One of them is the story of Boo, a bulldog puppy with hydrocephalus. With permission from Boo’s mom, Diane Messer, I’m going to post his (and her) story here so you understand a bit of what’s going on with him.

Boo is a 7 week old bulldog/beagle mix I ran into while looking on craigslist.com… I periodically check on there for puppies/kittens/etc that may need handraised, which I consider my specialty and I very much enjoy. I’ve always wanted a bulldog so I saw the ad for him and his siblings. My chihuahua has a mild case of hydrocephalus and so from previous research I knew what he had immediately. I contacted the people who had him and they had stated he was kind of sickly and smaller than the other babies. I told them I would take him since I’ve seen his problem before… so two days later I had a transport meet them in Indianapolis to pick him up… it was a five hour run for him and boy he was tuckered out!

The next morning we took him to see my regular vet, who is an older guy but usually he’s really good… just not this time. He confirmed it is hydrocephalus, weighed him (3.9lbs)… and gave him a dose of Panacur and sent one dose home… But he refused to give him anything to help with the fluid in his head, even though I had researched and had been given advice on what medications would help… wrote those down, had them in hand. All he would say that day was “There is no cure for it.” which of course I already knew! Tomorrow we see a vet in my town (8/27/12) and hopefully she will be patient and kind enough to listen… without reccommending he be automatically put to sleep. If she doesn’t help, then we will be taking a trip to KY to an actual neurologist vet. We plan to do whatever has to be done to help Boo. I figure there’s a reason I ran into his little picture.

As for me, I am a 31 year old mother of three (ages 12, 11, and 9) who is a stay-at-home mom and technically disabled. The dogs/puppies/etc that I rescue and eventually rehome give my life some kind of meaning. I don’t understand why but I just go with it. It makes me happy… and I’m sure it makes them happy too. :)

I started following Boo’s Facebook page and was so impressed by the care his family is giving him that I decided to donate a little something to his ChipIn.  It wasn’t much; I don’t have a lot to give away, but it seemed like a good cause.

Unfortunately a couple of days ago, Boo began to act oddly.  His vet wasn’t available so he was taken to a new vet (Tracey Gillespie at the IVEC) who told Diane that he had a heart murmur (In itself not always a huge problem) and he might be suffering from congestive heart failure. (A bigger issue to be sure, but not one that will necessarily kill him any time soon.  My father lived with CHF for a quarter of a century, and was not a man to take great care of himself!

What this means though, is at best the diagnostics, vet visits and treatments for both the heart problems and the hydrocephalus are going to cost a lot of money. Boo’s family is committed to his welfare and will do everything possible to see that he has a good life for as long as it’s possible.  His mom has said that if the time comes when he does not have a good quality of life, then they will do what needs to be done.  I find this reassuring.

I’m writing this not to ask you to donate money, though if you want to, that’s great.  Rather, I’m asking you to spread the word about Boo.  If this story gets picked up by the media, someone out there may be able to help them with the astronomical costs related to the surgeries this little guy may face.  I know money is tight for most of us.  But it’s easy to post and repost.

Now you may ask how I know that Diane is on the up-and-up, and that’s a fair question.  After having followed Boo’s saga for a while now, I have to say that my opinion is that if it’s a hoax she has a LOT of people working with her and it’s a very well thought-out hoax.  But when I asked her for copies of Boo’s bills, she responded immediately and I’m going to link to them here so you can look for yourselves:  Here is the bill from the Eastside Veterinary Hospital and this one is from Indianapolis Veterinary Referral where Dr. Gillespie took care of Boo.

So if you’re of a mind to help either by passing along this story, or donating a few bucks to the chip in, that would be great.  This little guy is going to end up putting a big dent in his family’s budget.  But — and I recognize that not everyone will understand or agree with me on this — our four-legged kids are family too, and we don’t give up on them unless they’re suffering.  Boo is not suffering.  He’s happy, and with luck one day he’ll be relatively healthy.

Thanks for your attention.

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)

Here’s the cover art for my upcoming release with Silver Publishing.  It’s by the very talented Lee Tiffin.  Isn’t it a delight?

Devil in the Details: Rafe is a young man with a problem. His lover, a wealthy and powerful man, has become increasingly demanding and possessive, and is occasionally abusive. Gavin is prepared to do anything to get what he wants.

What Rafe wants is a little peace and security. And he wants it with the owner of the new cafe in the neighborhood.

Driven to despair by his lover, Rafe calls on his half-brother, a demon named Grim, to help settle things.

Here’s a taste:

Rafe returned to Maraczek’s café about eight-thirty the next morning. He’d brought a book and was prepared to read while he waited, but Dave saw him and let him in. “They’re cooling. Come on in back and we’ll have milk and a cookie to start the day.”

“Really? In back?”

Dave laughed. “That’s right. The Inner Sanctum! C’mon. I don’t want anyone seeing you in here and rapping on the window.”

They went back into the kitchen and Dave pointed him towards a stool. Then he brought two big glasses of milk to the table. “Chocolate syrup? I make my own. You really should try it.”

“Oh sure, why not?” The butterflies started flitting around inside Rafe’s stomach. Was Dave going to put the moves on him with chocolate syrup and cookies? Rafe had to admit it would be a novel approach and one he could appreciate, but he wasn’t sure if it was such a good idea. Hard on that thought came the certainty he didn’t really care too much if it wasn’t a good idea.

“Why not indeed? It’ll make you feel like a kid again.” Dave fetched a big cobalt bottle, and a plate full of cookies. “These are also known as never-twice-the-same-cookie because I use whatever’s on hand.”

They were huge, heavy cookies that smelled heavenly. “What on earth is in these?” Rafe asked.

“Try it and see if you can figure it out.”

It was something to distract him from the awkward but very exciting attraction he was feeling for Dave. On the first bite he got oatmeal, walnuts and chocolate chips. “Chocolate chip oatmeal, right?”

“That’s a start. What else?”

Rafe took another bite. Dave was watching him closely. Watching him take bites, watching him chew. Rafe nearly forgot how to do both, but then the flavors tugged at him. “Not raisins, but… wait,” There was an almondy quality to the dried fruit. “Dried cherries?”

Dave seemed pleased. He nodded as he mixed chocolate syrup into the milk. “Right. And?”

“Coconut?” Dave confirmed it. “Spices…” There was the rich, friendly aroma of cardamom, the brightness of cinnamon and the warm bite of clove. And more, a whole lot more, but it remained mysterious. “It’s sort of like pumpkin pie spice with some cardamom, but not really,” Rafe said. ” Honestly, that’s as far as my thinking takes me.”

Dave patted his arm and Rafe almost shivered. He liked touching Dave far too much for his own good. “You did really well. There are some sunflower and chia seeds in there, and the spice is my own garam masala blend today with some extra cardamom because I love the stuff. The last batch I made with bits of crystallized ginger, and orange flower water. The next one? Who knows?” He grinned and took a big bite of his cookie.

Rafe sipped his chocolate milk and was again distracted from watching Dave by the flavors. “What’s in this?”

“Just chocolate syrup.”

“Oh no, there has to be something else.”

“Nope. That’s what it tastes like when you use real cane sugar and very good raw cocoa.”

“It’s amazing. It’s got this… I don’t know what to call it.” Sensation was coming at him far too fast; he was having a hard time sorting it all out.

“It’s rich and it’s a little musky, fruity, and kind of warm, isn’t it?”

“Yeah! Man this is good. You should sell this.”

Dave reached out and ran his finger over Rafe’s upper lip. “Chocolate milk moustache,” he said with a chuckle.

This time Rafe did shiver a little.

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

Therese

Aug. 26th, 2012 03:51 pm
persimmonfrost: (Default)


Therese, originally uploaded by Tracy Rowan.

Her blossoms don’t last long, but while they do they smell heavenly.

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)

William Shakespeare

Yesterday I finished a first draft of “Call Me But Love” which is a collection of four riffs based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but focusing on the romantic relationship between Romeo and Mercutio.  I need to put it away for a while because I’m sick of looking at it.  I’m getting nowhere fast on my contemporary romance novel “Will Work for Food” so I put that aside as well; I find that letting things marinate a bit helps me a lot when I go back to the story.

But I have to work on something, so I pulled out “Variations on a Theme By Dickens,” a novel length collection of five stories all based on Dickens’A Christmas Carol.”  Like “Call Me But Love” it comes out of a genre in fanfic known as “X Things That Never Happened To _____”  It’s one of my favorite fan fiction genres, and it’s rather like the musical genre of theme and variations.  I think it’s a shame it’s not more used in mainstream fiction, and both “Call Me But Love” and “Variations on a Theme By Dickens” are nods to that genre and an attempt to make it more mainstream.

Charles Dickens

In the latter, novel-length collection, four of the stories are Dickens-era historicals and one is contemporary, but they’re all quite different.  The first is told from the point of view of one of the Cratchit children.  The second which is in a tie for my favorite of the group, is “The Atherium” a steampunk fantasy with a rather engaging romance.  The fourth is the contemporary retelling, and this is my other favorite because it’s mean and funny and a little romantic, but not in a sappy way.  It’s about adults who make mistakes and get involved in silly or inappropriate relationships.  And the last one is a letter to Dickens from a former employer.

You noticed there’s no number three, didn’t you?  Because I’m in the middle of rereading it now, and I’m not happy with how slow the opening is.  It picks up about halfway through the story, but that’s not good enough.  I don’t want something that brings the momentum of the first two stories to a crawl.  It’s entitled “David Tarried at Jerusalem” and those of you who know your Bible might well guess at the theme.  It’s a kind of romance, but one that you know isn’t going to end well for anyone.  I need to find a way to make it pop right from the get-go.  Unfortunately it’s the one that’s been kicking my butt since I started the project.

However, that’s not your problem, gentle readers, it’s very much mine.  I will succeed; I just need to kvetch about it occasionally.  So to thank you for putting up with my ramblings, here’s an excerpt from “The Aetherium” the steampunk fantasy romance from “Variations on a Theme by Dickens.”

“Mr. Scrooge?’

“You have the advantage of me, sir,” Scrooge replied without looking up from the worn journal splayed across his desk. Time would tell if the stranger was worth the interruption.

The lightly accented voice replied, “If you please, sir, my name is Edwin Mayweather.”

Had Scrooge been afflicted with a sense of humor, he might have framed a reply along the lines of “And if I do not please, who shall you be, then?” But humor was a vice which Scrooge did not count on the debit side of his ledger. In fact, he counted no vices in that column having long become immune to lust, gluttony, sloth, wrath and the rest. As for greed, he felt that it was an extreme position, in no way related to his wise and thrifty ways. He felt he did not so much love money as need it, as a man needs air and water. One could not live without money, at least not as God intended, so the need for it was hardly sinful.

No vices, a few mistakes, nothing more. His considered opinion was that the seven deadly sins could be neatly distilled down into a lack of good, common sense. And common sense he had in abundance.

“What do you want?” he asked, eyes still fixed on the words before him, seeking a clue, always seeking…

“You were recommended to me by Mr. James Tillman, sir, as a man with a good eye for value.”

Value was one of the holy words in Scrooge’s litany, and heeding the name and word of Tillman had never failed to enrich him. “Is that a fact?” Finally he looked up and found that the man standing before him was of middling years, quite tall and startlingly handsome with vivid blue eyes, dark hair lightly shot with grey, and a complexion the color of lightly smoked meerschaum . “Have a seat, Mr. Mayweather,” he said, closing the journal.

Mayweather made himself as comfortable as he could in Marley’s old leather chair. Scrooge never threw anything out, and when the seat of Marley’s chair gave way, he merely put an old account book between it and the cushion and pronounced it “good as new.” The added advantage was that no visitor stayed long in Scrooge’s office. In truth most were disinclined to do so in any event for neither the office with its uniform dark walls, heavy dark furniture and windows so grimy they let in a pitiful amount of light, nor Scrooge himself, a man so much like his surroundings that he seemed to absorb what little light there was, reassured visitors that they were in any wise welcome.

“Now tell me what sort of value we are discussing.”

“A business opportunity, sir. An invention…”

“It isn’t one of those damnable steam-powered contraptions?” he asked, the memory of Robert Cratchit’s horrible death rising up to choke him with horror. Since Robert had been cooked alive in an explosion of one of those steam monstrosities, Scrooge felt a persistent unease at having the Pacioli Accounting Engine on the premises. He did not like steam unless it issued from a tea kettle, and only constant reassurances from Ada Cratchit, who Scrooge now employed to maintain her husband’s invention, and the certainty that he would lose money by going back to using clerks instead of the engine, kept him from selling it.

“Not at all, Mr. Scrooge. It is rather a case of the electronic stimulation of crystal which produces a luminiferous aether. The aether in turn…”

“Is it an expensive process?” Scrooge asked.

Mayweather shrugged eloquently. “It has been somewhat dear,” he admitted. “And now that I am prepared to begin public testing, I shall need a plentiful supply of materials with which to work. It would not do to fall short while presenting my invention to the world. As with all things of this nature, the investment of monies is the only way to ensure that one will make money.”

“Which is why you came to me.”

“Precisely. While I have already created Voltaic cells with copper and nickel the process would be greatly enhanced by the use of silver and gold. And the crystals do not withstand more than two or three uses …”

Scrooge raised a hand. “Pray do not attempt to make me familiar with the process for I have no head for the science of it. Tell me only how I might profit from helping you. What is this invention?”

“I call it “The Aetherium.” I have built a machine which allows the user to communicate with the dead.”

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)

First big news is that I’ve sold a novella to Dreamspinner Press.  The title is “The Vampyre’s Revenge” and here’s a little teaser for you:

Frank went out one night to pick up a pizza and came home a vampire. It wasn’t what he’d imagined. He’d assumed vampires would be scarier, like the ones on Buffy with their game faces and all. But the vampire who turned him was Mrs. Carlson, his sweet-faced, elderly landlady who lived downstairs, grew roses and fed stray cats.

That night, as he was on his way up the stairs, she stopped him and said she thought there was a cat in the garden who was hurt and would he please help her? And then she’d lured him out to the old garden shed where she’d said “I’m terribly sorry to do this to you, Franklin, but I’m afraid I need to drink a little bit of your blood.” Then she’d held him down, this tiny little white-haired lady who looked like his grandmother, and she’d bitten his neck and drunk his blood.

When she finished, she wiped her mouth on a red-flowered handkerchief (“The blood doesn’t show as much.”) she’d had tucked down the front of her plaid house dress and said “Thank you, dear. Now you won’t tell anyone about this, will you?” Then she patted his cheek.

“Is that it?” Frank asked as he followed her out of the shed. He didn’t even feel much different. A little weak, but otherwise unchanged.

“Is what it?”

“Well, I thought there’d be more to someone drinking my blood.”

“Really? Like what?”

“I don’t know… that you’d be scarier or I’d feel different. Or you’d get all young-looking after you fed.”

Mrs. Carlson laughed. “Franklin, how long have you known me? I’m an old woman. “She shook her head. “Why don’t you come in the house and I’ll give you some tea; you’ll feel better after a nice cup of hot tea. Bring your pizza along, will you? It smelled awfully good and I always get a bit peckish after feeding.” Frank didn’t know if he found that funny or not.

I’m pretty juiced about it.  It should be coming out in late winter/early spring.  I’ll post more details when I know them.

Souvenir de Malmaison

Souvenir de Malmaison (Photo credit: Tracy Rowan)

Also, I finally got the rose I’d been coveting for decades now.  The name is “Souvenir de Malmaison” and it’s a very old Bourbon rose with a heavenly scent.  Stories about the rose vary from source to source.  I’ve heard it said that it was Josephine de Beauharnais‘ (The Empress, Josephine, the “godmother of modern roseomaniacs” ) favorite rose, and also heard it said that it was only named after her rose garden at Malmaison.  This information comes from A Guide to Antique Roses:

“Originally known as ‘Queen of Beauty and Fragrance’ this rose received its present name when one of the Grand Dukes of Russia obtained a specimen from the gardens at Malmaison for the Imperial Garden in St. Petersburg. ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ produces large, flat, quartered blossoms with petals of pale, almost flesh colored pink, and a delightful fragrance. The compact bush rarely grows more than three feet, seemingly spending all its energy on blooming rather than growing.”

Français : portrait (inachevé?) de Josephine d...

Français : portrait (inachevé?) de Josephine de Beauharnais par Prud’hon, situé à la Malmaison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In keeping with our habit of giving our roses names, we’ve named this one “Josephine” in honor of the woman who is her godmother in spirit if not in fact.

The Japanese beetle adult--an attractive pest....

Alas, all is not mazel in Roselandia. Glinda noticed that Therese was being chewed, and this afternoon I discovered the culprit, a gorgeous, golden Japanese beetle.  I confess I dispatched him as quickly as I could, but hopes for an easy fix were dashed when I read about their mating habits.  So it’s milky spore and nematodes for us in the spring, and a couple of beetle traps for us now.  I put up with a lot in the interest of having a welcoming garden for our bees, butterflies, birds, etc., but I will not have my roses eaten, even if the diner is as handsome as the bug I picked off of Therese today.

Ornamental Chives

Ornamental Chives (Photo credit: Tracy Rowan)

Karen rose

Karen rose (Photo credit: Tracy Rowan)

Our Alter Egos

Our Alter Egos (Photo credit: Tracy Rowan)

 

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)

I was going to do a protracted rant about something else yesterday, but I got sidetracked by the Olympic opening ceremony which I haven’t really watched with any enthusiasm in years.  There is only so much of the “And here are our cutest children wearing costumes, carrying flowers, spinning ribbons and releasing balloons while doing ethnic dances” I can take in a lifetime.  I hoped Danny Boyle could ring some interesting changes on the whole big, gaudy spectacle but I wasn’t holding my breath.

Well by god, Danny Boyle gets my vote for the best opening ceremony in… ever.  Yeah it was still a big, gaudy spectacle with moments of real goofiness (Mr. Bean makes me ridiculously and pointlessly embarrassed, much as I love Rowan Atkinson.) But underneath it all — and no matter what Mr. Boyle says publicly — there was a core of pure liberal joy that made me want to get up and dance.

Now I confess the bucolic opening kind of put me off.  Yeah, green and pleasant land and all, but singing “Hey nonny” on the greensward was not an Olympic event last time I looked. After a bit of pastoral fol-de-rol,  the Industrial Revolution chugged onto the scene with frock-coated industrialists smugly supervising the uglification of that pretty landscape, huge, ugly smokestacks, and smudged workers who didn’t so much cavort as trudge.  The commentators on NBC cheerfully told their viewers that this was a tribute to the industrialization that made Britain great, as clouds of sulfur-scented smoke wafted out of the chimneys and into the stands.  Ken Branagh recited Caliban’s “Be not afeared” speech from “The Tempest” and those frock-coated capitalists did a little dance as their money piled up.  I said to Glinda that it seemed odd to me to be celebrating the kind of industry that will eventually put all of the UK under water. I still wasn’t quite getting it, though later as I reflected on the forging of one of the five Olympic rings, the symbolism pretty much hit me over the head with one of those hammers.

And then things got really strange.  There was a tribute to the National Health Service which is so maligned by the right wing in this country.  ”Oh no,” they say “It’s horrible.  They hate it in England!”  Well right there in front of God and everybody, the commentators read their notes which explained how beloved the NHS is in England.  And I whooped and shouted “Suck that, tea baggers!”  Poor Glinda, who had gone out to the kitchen for a moment said “What the hell is happening?”

Then there was a children’s nightmare sequence which was an odd sort of tribute to children’s literature, when you think about it, and the children were rescued from their night time horrors by a whole platoon of Mary Poppinses.  (Possibly a spoonful of sugar does make the medicine go down.) It all ended with a gigantic baby about which I agreed with the commentator who said he found it kind of creepy.

The Frankie and June segment was a good-humored, and relentlessly multi-racial, tech love story.  I particularly liked that the kids who really represented the face of the new generation were mixed-race.  The commentators talked about how charismatic they were,

and they were charming, but what I saw first was dark skin.  And it was pleasing in my eyes, as was the video montage that followed Frankie and June’s first kiss which included a lesbian kiss and made me yell “GIRLKISSING!” and then, as the montage ended: ”WHERE’S THE BOYKISSING?”  You can’t ask for everything, I guess.  It was a damn inspiring moment.  And then, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web appeared, and tapped out this message for the world: “This is for everyone.”  Again, suck that everyone who wants to censor and control the internet!  It’s for everyone; Sir Tim says so and he invented it.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the sheer goofiness and good humor of H.M. parachuting out of a helicopter over the stadium, accompanied by James Bond.  You want to talk indelible images?  That’s the one people will be talking about for years. (And it was not lost on me that Daniel Craig is hot like burning, and believe me when I tell you I would hit that like the fist of an angry god if he gave me half a chance.)

I loved the rock and roll because British rock changed popular music several times over.  I got a bit misty as  I watched the torch being carried along the Thames in a motorboat piloted by David Beckham, and I cried when the Olympic flag was brought to Muhammed Ali .

I am not unaware that while rock is both the music of the people and of youth, punk and rap, which was prominently featured in the show, is the music of the disaffected and disenfranchised and I don’t think that its inclusion was an accident.  Nor do I think it’s a coincidence that the torch was carried in accompanied by an honor guard comprised of 500 of the workers who actually built the Olympic stadium, or that the people who carried the Olympic flag into the stadium were:

So really, I don’t care how many times someone says that no, there wasn’t any political content, I saw what I saw, and it made me very happy.  I loved hearing Paul McCartney sing “Hey Jude, don’t make it bad. Take a sad song and make it better.” because for a short space of time, this event, this coming together in the brotherhood of sports is a way to take all the sad songs and make them a little better for a time.  It’s a way to help people recognize that we’re all sharing the same planet, we all have the same needs, and working together, we  can make things better.

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)
Chicago - Can't Stop the Serenity 6/22/07 - Po...

Chicago – Can’t Stop the Serenity 6/22/07 – Portage Theatre, before the show (Photo credit: meryddian)

The church has withdrawn its request for rezoning of the Portage Theater, and has pulled out of the bidding on the property.  While I don’t have any other details right now, I believe this makes the current theater operators either the only or the top bidders on the property.

This is wonderful news, particularly coming on top of the successful Patio Theater Kickstarter campaign.  Thanks to everyone who supported these projects, with donations or letters or signatures on a petition.  You’ve done something good for Chicago neighborhoods; you’ve aided in the process of bringing them back from decrepitude.  These two theaters will serve this area for years to come, showing second run, oldies, and holding special events that will enrich their communities.

This is all very exciting.

Portage Theater

Portage Theater (Photo credit: reallyboring)

p.s.  Don’t forget that the Patio Kickstarter campaign is accepting donations until tomorrow night.  While the donations are a sure thing now, every little bit helps.  So please, if you haven’t already pledged, consider giving a few bucks.

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)
4050 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60641 www.p...

4050 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60641 www.portagetheater.org/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Portage?  Well it’s still in danger.  Here’s the situation:  A church located a few miles from the theater has outgrown its current location.  When church reps found that the Portage was up for sale they jumped at the chance to buy it since the property is enormous.  They plan to use the auditorium space for their presentations, the storefronts and apartments for other church business and events.  They also plan to make significant alterations to the façade.

The alderman, John Arena, has been working with the church to try to find other, more suitable locations, but so far the church has refused to reconsider.  This is not a matter of keeping the building owner from selling; there are several other offers on the property including one from the people who run the theater.

I haven’t yet run across any local who likes the idea of an enormous store-front church spang in the middle of the Six Corners business district, an area which used to be a thriving shopping and entertainment district, but has in the past twenty or thirty years become very down-at-the-heels.  The re-opening of the theater has been a tremendous boost to pulling more business into the area.  There’s a theater group and a museum of veterans’ art slated to open almost across the street from the Portage, and several new bistros and cafes which have recently opened or are about to open.  The theater is an anchor for the neighborhood.  Without it, and in fact with the church in its place, the area would almost certainly lose its momentum.  The presence of a church (in the words of the group trying to save the theater) “would mean the eventual loss of a neighborhood favorite in the Portage Theater. The net effect would be a loss of tax revenue, economic revenue, economic engine that fuels activity in the corridor, and set insurmountable restrictions for businesses looking to open restaurants, bars and places of entertainment moving forward.”

Why does business matter?  Because this area has been a ghost town for too long.  When I was a child it was the central business district for all the neighborhoods around it.  Then people began to leave the city in the late sixties and early seventies and bit-by-bit neighborhoods came apart.  We need our neighborhoods.  We need places where independent businesses can grow and thrive, where we can shop, dine, and be entertained close to home.  Actual, physical involvement in a community is a deterrent to crime; it raises the bar for that community.  Everyone benefits.

Why am I saying all this?  Because the folks who want to save the Portage Theater have started a petition that they want to present at the final Zoning Board of Appeals hearing.  The church needs special zoning permissions and the neighborhood is against granting them.  They came to the last meeting unprepared, and were given a continuation.  The board has made it clear that they will not get another continuation, so this is a make-or-break moment for the campaign to save the Portage.  Please consider signing the petition.  You don’t really have to be a resident of the area, or even a Chicagoan; you just have to care about what will happen to the neighborhood if this wonderful old theater is lost.

Sign the petition to save the Portage Theater

Go here to send a letter to the City of Chicago showing your support for the theater.

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)

The Patio Theater Kickstarter is 100% funded.  What that means is that this neighborhood gem will survive into the digital era, and be an anchor to what I hope will become a thriving business district at Austin-Irving.  If any of you locals haven’t been there, you are missing something special!  If you want to pledge something, there’s still time, and anything over the $50,000 will definitely be put to good use.

Also, my dear friend Lisa has a new site: Lisa Braun Yoga.  She’s a yoga instructor working in New York state. Please check it out, and if you’re in her neighborhood, give her classes a try.

I finished the edits for “Devil in the Details” for Silver Publishing and submitted “The Vampyre’s Revenge” to Dreamspinner Press.  ”Anna Magdalena’s Song” is rolling along, becoming bigger and more completed by the day.  And I have quarterly calls coming up next week which means I’ll be earning some much-needed money to help pay the property taxes.  It’s all good.

And finally, we are having a much-needed monsoon!  We’ve been desperate for rain for well over a month now, and it’s coming down in sheets.  I may go out and dance in it.

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)

Family pet, Lennox, is dead.  He was executed this morning because he might possibly have had pit bull blood in him. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world begged for his life; people of good will offered their homes as alternatives to death and they were rebuffed.  Why?  Because a group of ignorant, small-minded individuals decided that a dog with no record of aggression was dangerous.  He looked like a pit bull, he must have been dangerous right?

There is no such thing as a dangerous breed, only dangerous people.  Dangerously ignorant people.

I’m not old enough to remember a time when it was common to see signs that read: “No dogs, no Irish” but I am old enough to remember segregation in my own country, and I take these lessons to heart because they speak to the human tendency to make flawed judgments based on stereotypes.  The stereotypical Irish man/woman still exists today in cartoons, and in phrases which are spoken out of ignorance: “Shanty Irish,” “Lace-curtain Irish,” in descriptors such as “lazy” or “drunken.”   Was there anything just about these stereotypes?  To my way of thinking, the Irish are no better or worse than any other people on earth.

But this is different, you say, this is about public safety.

No it’s not.  It’s about willful ignorance and scape-goating .  It’s about people who refuse to look past their own ill-informed prejudices, who don’t want to be bothered actually thinking about a situation — my God, they had two years to educate themselves and they spent those years clinging to a stereotype of pit bulls.  There is no excuse for willful ignorance.  None.

Here in the U. S., the phrase “zero tolerance” is thrown about a lot.  I hate it because it’s the same damn thing: stupidity and laziness tarted up as some kind of high-minded principle.  It’s led to children being suspended from school for taking aspirin. (“Zero tolerance for drugs!”) and arrested for doodling on their desk with erasable marker. (“The rules are the rules!”)  What “zero tolerance” actually means is “We don’t want to be bothered making decisions, so we’ll just create this rule and enforce it without thought or common sense.”  It’s bad enough when 97 year old women are put in handcuffs and dragged to jail for failing to pay a parking ticket, but when it costs a life, even the life of a dog, it’s a sin and a shame.

People of Belfast, your City Council has shamed you in the eyes of the world.  From this point on, your city will be known as the place where an innocent family pet can be executed for no more reason than his bloodline.  Pet owners will point to Belfast as a kind of Doggie Dachau, and those of us who believe in common sense, common decency and mercy will think of Belfast as a place where none of those things are valued.  Yes, I do know better; I know that there are many decent people in Belfast who disagree violently with the council’s decision.  But Lennox’s murder proves the enduring quality of negative ideas.

So let me say this: Get rid of your council.  Get them out of office as quickly as you can, and replace them with people who  actually think.  If you can remove that judge from his seat, do it.  End breed-specific legislation as soon as you can. Do not let this kind of mindless authoritarianism become the symbol of your city and the people in it. Above all, don’t let these fools take more lives.

English: Candle wick burning. Français : Gros ...

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

persimmonfrost: (caddy)
4050 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60641 www.p...

4050 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60641 www.portagetheater.org/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I live in Chicago where there is currently a resurgence of interest in restoration of old movie theaters.  In fact I live within walking distance of two absolute gems, The Portage and the Patio (Which my folks always pronounced “pay-she-oh.” I guess that was the way it was said before the fifties.)  The Portage has built its business around events like the Silent Film Society’s film festival and Can’t Stop the Serenity, a Firefly-related event that raises money for charity, as well as screenings of old movies.  Currently the building is in danger of being sold to one of those storefront churches, which is a horrible idea for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that the Portage is a landmark of the northwest side of the city. Right now there’s a lot of scrambling going on to save it, but apart from showing support for the theater as a theater, there’s not a lot that can be done to save it.

The Patio

That can’t be said for the Patio.  It opened about a year ago after many years of being shuttered.  The owner, Demetri Kouvalis, and his father, spent a lot of time and money restoring it to its former glory, and they’ve done a terrific job.  The Patio shows second run films for $5 a seat, and has a well-stocked and reasonably priced concession stand.  It’s the cornerstone of the Irving-Austin business district.  But it’s in danger.  Hollywood is switching to the digital format a lot sooner than anyone imagined, and all these little theaters have to switch too, to the tune of $70,000 to $100,000 each for the new equipment.

It’s doable, if you’ve had the time to build your business, but the Patio has only been in business for a year.  There are benefit showings of great old films, and I know they’ll happily take donations.  But in hope of raising the money, Mr. Kouvalis has begun a Kickstarter campaign.  His goal is to raise $50,000 by July 20th.  If he doesn’t, if he only gets $49,999 worth of pledges, the whole campaign is a wash and he’ll get nothing.  that’s how Kickstarter operates.

With a little over three weeks to go, there are about $30,000 worth of pledges. Word is spreading, and there are some terrific perks for your donations (Mostly of interest to Chicagoans, but still.)  But it’s by no means a sure thing.  That’s why I’m writing this.  I’m hoping both local and non-local friends will donate something to the cause.  Look, if you were planning on giving me a Christmas gift this year, and want to donate to the Patio instead, I would be THRILLED.

I’ve already donated and as the deadline gets closer I’m going to give as much more as I can afford because I think it’s that important.  Think about what it would mean to have this sort of theater in your community, and consider that the area that is home to both the Patio and the Portage has been depressed and fairly run down for a long time.  But just lately we have a museum of veterans’ art and a legitimate theater company moving in almost opposite the Portage, a wonderful coffee house a block down from the Patio, and a number of other businesses gearing up to join the Portage/Old Irving Park community.  It’s a very exciting time, and I want to do what I can to help.  I hope that you’ll feel moved to do the same.

And thanks.

 

 

Related Ways to Take Action:
Powered by Social Actions

Mirrored from Persimmon Frost.

Profile

persimmonfrost: (Default)
Tracy Rowan

August 2013

S M T W T F S
    123
4 5678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

  • Style: Cozy Blanket for Ciel by nornoriel

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 26th, 2017 04:42 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios