Saturday, April 17, 2010


I've been avoiding this one for a couple of weeks, even though it's the only SEP I could find to reread since I finished Dream a Little Dream earlier this month. As I recall, I enjoyed it the first time I read it, but the She-God in the story was a bit unsettling. Since I was in the mood for an SEP kind of story, I bit the bullet and re-read it. This time I enjoyed it without qualifications. The God plot didn't bother me a bit, and I was carried away for a couple of hours to the sunny fields and vineyards of Tuscany. How could I go wrong?

I feel like I haven't been reading much lately, but I've been listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when I'm in the car. I'm on tape 4 of 12. Jim Dale really does a marvelous job reading the Potter books, and he deserves every award he's received for his work.

I've been skimming lots of magazines lately, and my recipe book has taken up chunks of my time. I love reading recipes and seeing how the same ingredients can be combined in so many different ways with so many different results, give or take a spice or two. It's funny how I know just from reading a recipe whether I'd even want to try making it.

I watched Julie & Julia the other night and found the idea of working my way through a cookbook more than a little daunting, until I realized that I sort of plan to do something similar with my own recipe book. What I find perplexing is how Julie got such a following on her blog--as far as I know, I have two readers and several who come here just to post junk and ads. How do you get hundreds of people interested in your online musings?

My cookbook project will likely begin in May. Now that my husband has a job and we can see an end to the days of being broke and living paycheck to paycheck, I can focus on planning my menus for the week, using my crockpot, doing a bit of baking, and just expanding my list of go-to recipes. I'll probably post the recipes I try, so you foodies out there, plan to chime in with advice and share your cooking adventures.

And in the words of Isabel Favor, Embrace the Chaos...and BREATHE!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The best thing about discovering a new author is glomming all their other books and immersing yourself in their writing, or re-discovering an old favorite, revisiting favorite titles, and catching up with their other titles.

When Jayne Ann Krentz was writing what I call her Alphabet Trilogies under her pseudonym Amanda Quick, I read them as fast as I could get my hands on them. I don't remember much about them now, and frankly, I found it very hard to remember specifics about each book because those titles (Mystique, Mischief, Mistress, Dangerous, Desire, Deception, Ravished, Reckless, etc.) didn't help me remember what they were about. I've thought about going back and re-reading them, and that's not out of the question, but there are so many books I have yet to read for a first time by authors I have yet to discover that I'm not necessarily willing to devote a lot of time to that many books I've already read.

Anyway, I hadn't read JAK for a while, except in her Jayne Castle persona, because I love her Harmony series. My aunt, Posey, and I talk books a lot, and she was telling me how hard it is to find JAK books secondhand, and I realized I had a few of her Arcane Society books. I hadn't realized that they tied in with the Harmony books. So I'm on my fourth JAK title in the past month, and I love that I'm just flying through it. I've begun to realize that sometimes my slow reading pace is a symptom of reading books I think I *should* read rather than reading what I know I'll love and enjoy.

When I first discovered Susan Elizabeth Phillips, it was the same thing--I read everything I could find by her. I recently re-read Dream a Little Dream, which is one of my favorites of hers, even though I'm not exactly sure what that title had to do with anything. And that leads me to a particular pet peeve: bad titles.

I used to read Harlequin romances all the time, and I didn't care who saw me reading them. I don't read them to speak of now, and the reason is quite simple: the titles are stupid and embarrassing. The Billionaire's Baby Bargain. The Sheikh's Secret Seduction. The Italian's Pregnant Mistress. These may or may not be actual titles, but you see where I'm going with this. For years I defended Harlequin as good story-telling with a wealth of opportunity for fledgling writers. Now I can't get past the titillating, newsstand headline titles of the books to read the stories inside. Harlequin's taken the genre backward about fifty years, and it's a terrible mistake. On the other hand, I guess if I were to read one of those books, I wouldn't have trouble remembering what the plot was.

I recently read Never Love a Lawman by Jo Goodman. I really enjoy her books, which are usually western historical romances, but the title of this one left me scratching my head, because it's one of those titles I'm talking about--it had nothing to do with the story, except that the hero was the town sheriff. The story was about a young woman who moves to a small western town to escape a villain. She keeps to herself for the most part, except for the fact that she's a dressmaker who designs clothing for the ladies of the town as well as for the ladies of the night. The town is open-minded about this because the ladies of the night were brought in to provide company for the bachelor miners, and many of them have married and become respectable. Anyway, the heroine and hero marry to meet the terms of the will of the young woman's benefactor, who had once been a friend of her father's. So, does anything here relate to "Never Love a Lawman?" I didn't think so, either.

Authors don't get much say in naming their books, but I'm pretty sure I'd have trouble accepting a title that didn't have anything to do with my story.