Friday, April 27, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Motherhood Moments - Girls

I suppose if I was a great mother I'd separate my girls and share what I love best about each of them.

I'll settle for being a decent mother.

If you've ever parented sisters, you probably understand that this is nearly impossible anyway.

Besides, I can always share something and still act as if I haven't, because they will a) blame it on each other or b) I can claim to have been talking about the other one.

What can I say about girls? Sugar and spice and everything nice?

Obviously written by someone who didn't have a set. Nice is sometimes not an option.

Spice - well, that is rarely lacking.

Snuggle time seems to be a big issue at our house. As is what I label as LOUD time. Snuggle time is when one of the girls wants my undivided attention. This always results in a dog pile kind of event where I sometimes pass out from a stray foot to the temple, or at least see pretty light shows in my head from the lack of oxygen as they take turns wrestling me from each other.

Sometimes I feel like our home is a small cardboard box of puppies. The mother dog jumps in and is set upon like food at a picnic. Did I mention the mother dog's exhaustion? And headache?

Writhing warm bodies seeking something from me...all the time...must get fresh air.

Loud time. I believe the adolescent female voice, if honed, could cut glass. I know it's robbed me of acute hearing, and brought Rob to tears a time or two. My suggestion to anyone with girls - DO NOT EVER STAND in between two girls having any sort of fight, competion, conversation or attitude exchange. NOT. On the flip side - mumble time is used frequently to rest the voice - preparing it for the next loud session. There is no middle decibel.

But then just when I think my nervous tics will never go away, they do something so sweet, so special, I dare would call it sugar. There's just nothing like a dewy-eyed girl who's intent on sharing her heart.

My girls can bake brownies, too. This belongs in the plus category.

They often attract and bring home other nice girls who love chocolate and bring it along. Or the friends with terribly good taste and wonderful senses of humor may think of me as funny and begin calling me Mom B or some other sort of pet name.

Rob has learned to look both ways before darting down any hallways. One never knows if a friend has dropped by, or if a daughter is feeling a little on edge. If it's too quiet in house, he steps carefully and asks me questions with his eyes - whites showing. But the boy prepared him for sneak attacks and sudden lunges, so he's still pretty quick on his feet.

Serials and Scenarios - Paul Robertson

Paul opted out of answering the usual dregs questions. Instead he has posed a few to us.

And he has some deep thoughts, too.

What do you think?

After reading through some of the comments already posted, I’d rather ask questions of all of you than answer questions about myself.

Where is Christian Fiction supposed to be going, and what is it, anyway? Writing the stuff is very different than reading it. There are a lot more limitations – I find that I’m very poor at creating a convincing “conversion” scene, for example. A reader would feel a plot was incomplete without it. For a different reader, the story would lose all credibility when a character drops to his knees.

I sure think Jason needs to get saved. His whole state needs for him to get saved. His whole state needs to get saved. I hope any of them do.

I know what Christian Fiction should do, or what the world needs for it to do. I live about two miles from Norris Hall on the Virginia Tech campus here in Blacksburg, VA. I have close friends who were personally touched by the shootings here last week. It’s amazing how many connections 32 people can have in a community of forty thousand – everyone knows someone who was closely affected. Everyone has questions and for many of them, an evangelism tract or a church service are not answers. What can I say to them, and how can I say it? These are not just the “unsaved”. It might have been an even bigger shock to comfortable Christians who thought they had God figured out.

My goal is to speak Christ and Truth to the church and the world. The moment of one person’s salvation doesn’t happen by itself – there will be a process, maybe years or decades, and people will be at all different stages. After salvation, the process continues. That’s where it even starts for real. I want to explore that process and illuminate God’s work in individual lives.

Thanks to everyone for their time and willingness to read “The Heir”. I hope at least some people enjoyed it! I’ve been reading the reviews. It’s helpful to see what a diversity of expectations and interests readers have.

The plan is for “Road to Nowhere” to come out next spring (2008), depending of course on Bethany’s schedule. No billionaires. Just the Board of Supervisors of a tiny county in the mountains of North Carolina and some real big issues they end up dealing with. Including an abrupt vacancy on the board itself …

God bless

- Paul Robertson

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - The Heir

Click on the'll take you to Amazon and you can read a bit of Paul Robertson's novel.

(I'm getting techie aren't I? ; ) Did I ever mention the time my cousin asked me a computer question - yeah, the one in web design. Hello. This is the kid who watched me back over his tricycle. But the moment felt good!

My Review:

I can't believe a left-brained man wrote this novel. To be honest, I put it toward the bottom of my "to read" pile because it was written by a man who works with computers and teaches science.

Was I ever wrong about an assumption.

Okay, there are guy, and plenty of logical detail type things in The Heir. Cars, boats, spread sheets, stocks, big business, stuff that just doesn't appeal to my right brain, word-loving mind. But handled by Paul Robertson, these details are not boring, nor did they once trigger my gag reflex.

Great story, well told, tight writing. The meaning of life permeates through a dry wit and sarcastic first person point of view. The author's voice is a pleasant blend of John Grisham and Randy Alcorn.

All is not what it seems to be. And I found several surprises, some pleasant, some not so wonderful, both in the writing and in the plot. One of the surprises was the lack of Christianese.

The Heir veers into far-fetched a time or two, but the cynicism of the narrator and the charming relationship between him and his younger brother makes this an engaging read.

Rumor has it that I may have a few Q and A's for you to peruse tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Motherhood Moments - Boy Child

I had an impromptu lunch with my son last week.

He's all grown up, been married for almost two years, and sometimes I miss him so much my heart aches.

We attend the same church and he and his wife are as busy as Rob and I. Our paths cross, we hug, we share a bit of news, laugh and that keeps us just enough in touch that the ache is more like a longing.

We are so proud of our son. He is a kind man, a good husband, and he's following the path the Lord has set out for him.

But sometimes I miss him like crazy.

Hard to believe that just a decade ago, his sole delight was pushing my buttons. All of them -- in random and rapid succession. He'd laugh uproariously when I attempted to discipline.

Apparently, or so my children tell me, my humor blossoms when watered with the monsoon of extreme annoyance. My sarcasm ripens, my expressions delight them. Yes. I'm hysterically funny when I'm frustrated.

My son triggered a tiny but intense nervous breakdown once.

The location, the kitchen, where many of our encounters took place.

I believe he was juggling a plate. Well, not really juggling, more like tossing and putting intense spinerage on the stoneware. Of course it was one of the only unchipped pieces. This was his favorite pastime - after heckling me.

I can't remember the exact details of my breakdown. Maybe I was sweeping up glass bits from the juggling of the mug gone bad.

Maybe he was playing his "I don't understand" game.

This is my personal favorite. He'd develop a glassy-eyed stare and watch my mouth as I spoke. If I pinned him down, forced him to recount what I'd just tried to explain he'd restate it in jibberish or a foreign language, or out of context, or any other creative spin to mess up my words. The topics - far-ranging - could be life plans, serious spiritual concerns, instructions, chore lists. The topic just didn't matter.

Back to the mini-breakdown. I remember snapping at him for saying or doing something. I believe he laughed. I cried, and then I started laughing and couldn't stop. And the whole thing lasted less than a minute. Yep, the entire gamut of emotions -- anxiety, hopelessness, frustration, rage, hysteria, sadness and joy -- run through in seconds.

When and if he reads this his chest will probably swell with pride - or his eyes water from laughing.

But one day he'll have children of his own.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Scribble and Scrambles - Warty Monograms and Motorcycle Cells

I left the office early Friday.

The beauty of flexible scheduling.

I drove around town with my windows down and the wind whipping my hair in my eyes. This is probably illegal, or at least a bad idea, but after seeing what I saw Thursday, I'm not too worried.

Thursday, I spied a man on a motorcycle. He was easy to see since he pulled out in front of me.

Guess what he was busy doing? Yep. Talking on a cellphone - did I mention he was riding as in driving a motorcycle - one of those things with two wheels and no protective aluminum or fiberglass shell?

While still on the phone, after pulling out in front of me, he turned into a grocery store parking lot.

This was impressive.

Maybe he's got one of those new "look, Ma! No hands!" motorcycles. He didn't use his turn signal. I suppose he didn't want to upset his equilibrium.

While I drove Friday with the whipping frenzy of my hair and bits of grit from the street exfoliating my face, I noticed something else that bugged me.

Bugs me - in present tense -- almost every time I drive past.

Someone built a huge luxury mansion on the top of one of our town's many hills. They installed gates over the driveway and graveled the banks on either side of the gates. A worker, a landscape artist no doubt, painstakingly smoothed the pinkish gravel into a flat sea of weed-free yard and then crafted a perfect six foot letter.

A gravel monogram.

But this was over a year ago, and shortly after this artistic and tasteful yard-styling, someone or something knocked some of the white gravel outside of it's little barrier and the huge letter now has a blurry growth.

There is a wart on the monogram. A hairy wart. And no one has fixed it.

Do you suppose I could be arrested for trespassing if I sneak over some night and repair it?

Hey, maybe they are trying to capture an anal-retentive Sasquatch. I hadn't thought of that.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Annette Smith - Big Life Q & A

Happy Friday, all.

Annette Smith, author of A Bigger Life is gracing us with her thoughts and comments. I can see why I liked A Bigger Life as much as I did. If you like what Annette has to say, you are going to like her book.

Some out there in writing land have strange rituals. Share yours.

It's not strange but it's definitely caffeinated. Got to have lots of coffee to get me started and to keep me going.

Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.

And they all lived happily ever after.

What period of history intrigues you the most?

I find the 60's fascinating. I know those were years of great social change and turmoil, but I admire the passionate activism of that era. I also love the music and the fashions. Think about it. Where would we be without the Beatles and the peasant blouse?

What would you write if there were no rules or barriers? (epic novels about characters in the Bible, poetry, greeting cards, plays, movies, instruction manuals, etc.)

Graffiti. I'm always tempted to add my two cents to what's on the bathroom stall walls.

What makes you feel alive?

Many things:
Music, especially live performances. Art. I love galleries and outdoor festivals. Spending time in nature, even just kicked back on my front porch, feeds my soul. I am also energized by deep, off-the-wall conversations with creative, free-spirited, out-of-the box people. The intimate drama inherent in my work as a hospice nurse makes me feel unbelievably alive and alert.

How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?

I am drawn to the poignant. I find deep meaning in tragedy and loss.

Book, music, person, food you would take with you on a very long trip.

I'd take my Bible and a blank notebook, Norah Jones' Come Away With Me CD, my husband Randy, Green and Black dark chocolate bars, Rice Crispie Treats, and Dasani bottled water.

Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? – and why.

That deserted island sounds tempting! I love both solitude and the ocean and am very content when my feet are in the surf and my bottom is sunk into the sand.

Favorite season and why?

I love springtime because of the sheer beauty. Living in a forested part of east Texas, the trees are simply gorgeous right now. Looking out my kitchen window, I can see an amazing number of shades of green against the bluest sky you can imagine. The air is cool. Birds are singing, and clouds of wildflowers bank the roads.

Favorite book setting and why?

Elizabeth Berg is one of my favorite writers. In every one of her books, she lovingly describes the smallest of domestic details in ways that make me want to move right into her settings. I love her kitchens, her gardens, her bedrooms. Every time I read one of her books, I am struck with the desire to rearrange my own nest.

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

Readers have told me they can't believe A Bigger Life was really written by a woman. It was a risky venture for me, a middle-aged mainstream wife and mom, to write in the first-person male voice of Joel, a twenty-seven year-old single dad. I love it when someone tells me I nailed his voice.

What criticism has cut the deepest and why?

I am so hard on myself that criticism never surprises me. I nearly always agree with my critics.

What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?

I'd get up early and have my coffee on my front porch. I'd water my plants and clean out my underwear drawer. Knowing that in my absence, he'd simply toss it in the dryer and think that was good enough, I'd iron a shirt for my husband to wear to my funeral. I'd invite family and friends to come for dinner and I'd hope they'd spend the night. I'd pet my sweet pooch Wallie and eat oatmeal cookies in bed. I'd buy fresh flowers and put them in every room of my house. I'd write letters to my future grandchildren.

What is your favorite word?

Feign. I think I've managed to work it into ten of my twelve books.

What word annoys you more than any other?

I'm not fond of suddenly.

Favorite chore

Folding clothes. I love it when all there's nothing dirty in the hamper and everything is clean, sweet-smelling, and put where it belongs.

Anything you'd do but don't because of fear of pain? What is it? Ex.
Bungee jumping, sky diving, running with scissors.

My parents' encouraged my adventurous spirit, but they did forbid me to ride a motorcycle. My friend Ken rides an enormous black BMW. When I get up my nerve, I'm going to ask him to take me for a spin.

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

The constant presence of television. TV's are everywhere, in restaurants, hospital waiting rooms, and airports. I don't believe the background noise and rapidly changing images add anything to our quality of life.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - A Bigger Life

The Book:

The Author:

The Review:

I was completely sucked into Joel Carpenter's story. Annette Smith's A Bigger Life male perspective point-of-view novel is raw, honest, real and heartbreaking.

I almost felt like I was reading over Joel's shoulder as he wrote in his diary. Visual without sweeping literary words, descriptions and complex sentence structure. Powerful characterization and deeply spiritual, but not exactly pretty. Instead it is a picture of flawed people doing the best they can when life is not what they expected it would be.

A Bigger Life reminded me of secular novels such as About a Boy and She's Come Undone -- the stories that compel you to devour the book to find out if the hero/heroine will overcome the odds against him/her.

Huge complex weavings of the high and low points of Joel Carpenter's life, the lives of his friends, the knitting of hearts together and painful unravelings. Through it all are a few people, flawed and honest about it, who love him enough to reach out with the love of Jesus.

You want cookie cutter anything, then you might not like A Bigger Life. The people don't behave like "good" Christians. A book more about love than doctrine. It's also a book more about story than mechanics. But if you like your fiction to make you think, cry, and wonder about the fragility of life and love, then you'll find it here.

Interview pending for tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Scary and Sensational - Two A.M. Thoughts

My prayers for, and my sorrow reaches toward the hundreds for their loss in yesterday’s massacre. I can’t begin to imagine what the families must be feeling.

Another tragedy. Hundreds -- no thousands -- of people in varying degrees of devastation – this senseless act reaches beyond families and friends and wraps the tentacles of fear around the entire nation.

We want someone to blame. Order demands it – our logical and orderly minds require something to cling to, to wrap around.

Most people blame God.

I understand that.

I also understand that our lives are whipping past us at the speed of light. Noise fills nearly every minute. News of tragedies layer like wallpaper, lining the shells we erect to protect ourselves. Most people wrestle with the realities of life and death during the two a.m. moments of awareness that wake us, terrify us and shake our fragile worlds.

What happens when I die? Who am I? What should I be doing? What’s the point? Why bother?

The 9-11 events that still resonate through me are the stories of heroism, survivors who were aware of divine intervention, the odd events that protected some. I am a Pollyanna. Faith is easy for me. Faith in Jesus, believing He is all that He claims, is simple. But maybe that isn’t Pollyannaish at all. Maybe that’s because I know Jesus intimately, I know His heart. And because I know His heart, I know His Father’s. I am certain that those who died in the 9-11 attack and those who died yesterday were given God’s loving attention, just as the survivors were. And maybe in the shocked seconds of clarity His love broke through the fragile shell of ignorance, disbelief, fear, or intelligence and it saved some souls.

Birth -- death – certainty in each life. Do you have some two a.m. questions that are nagging at you right now in the shocked silence of tragedy?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Too Funny

A sense of humor must be as individual as fingerprints.

I recently read a newspaper column where the columnist sang the praises of Lucille Ball and her zany humor. This guy considers Lucille the Queen Bee of funny. I’m going to admit to the world -- possibly igniting a riot of rage full including rotten, airborne vegetables -- and well you get the general idea…bad things may happen when I admit this.

Lucy leaves me mildly amused at best.
Get it out…let me help. “Boo! Hiss! You stink!”
I can’t help it. I’ve watched Lucy. I’ve even laughed at Lucy, but she just doesn’t do it for me.

While I’m attacking American Institutions…I don’t like “Love Is…” or “Marmaduke” or “Family Circus.” I detest “Nancy” and “Blondie” annoys me.

I do have Dilbert strips stuck on my refrigerator. I’ve purchased Far Side t-shirts, and Calvin and Hobbes books. Not all of them leave me rolling on the floor, but the ones that do become instant laugh-pump primers and put me in the laughing mood.

I love Dilbert’s Wally. “Robotman” had a series on Fleshy the hairless cat that almost always killed me.

I appreciate clever plays on words and twisted thoughts, and some great physical humor.

Three Stooges – some, but it gets too painful.

Just give me a great tumble so I can savor it. Movies…ahhh. Some day I’d love to get a DVD of hilarious moments in cinema. It would include the Ruperick scenes from “Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels” the taxi incidents, the ride up the escalator and the raccoon hug scene from “Elf.” I’d include the scream scene from “Elizabethtown” and all the dirt bike trips from “Nacho Libre.” The DVD wouldn’t be complete without one-line snippets from “Napoleon Dynamite,” “What About Bob?” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “The Three Amigos.” Mockumentaries?…oh, now you’re talking.

I’m just getting started. What would you include in your Best Highlights of Humor DVD?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Brandilyn Collins - Pointed (gulp)

So what does it feel like to be threatened by one of the leading Christian suspense writers? Scary. If anything happens to me...well I think you might know the first place to look.

My questions in red her threats (I mean answers) in blue.

Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?

Snoopy. He’s cool. Although he never got a manuscript accepted, so maybe I’d better rethink this one…

If you could ask any person, living or dead, a random question -- what question would you ask of whom?

How about a question my son asked me when he was five: “How do dogs get any privacy?”

Some out there in writing land have strange rituals. Share yours.

I talk to myself and my characters. Although for a novelist, this is actually quite normal.

Scary, isn’t it.

Pick one…..Pink iguana, purple cow, periwinkle giraffe. Which one and why? Can be negative or positive.

Iguanas are ugly in any color. A purple cow’s too common. (Well, there IS a poem about one.) A periwinkle giraffe would be way cool.

Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.

“I do not know how the suns and worlds are turned. I only see how men will plague themselves.” Mephistopheles, in Goethe’s Faust.

What a perfect description of Satan. I used this phrase in Coral Moon.

If you were assured of writing a best-seller, what genre would it be? Give us a sliver of information, a characteristic or glimpse of a scene.

Seatbelt Suspense, of course.

As for a glimpse—uh-uh. Then I’d have to kill you.

What period of history intrigues you the most?

Now. Although I suppose now’s not history. It’s, well…now. Although now will be history tomorrow. So how about if I write about now tomorrow? Only tomorrow, now will still be now…

Oh, dear. I have just got my knickers in a twist.

What makes you feel alive?

A heartbeat’s a good start.

How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?

I’m still stuck on the “worm into the heart” visual.

Hm. Could be an interesting way to kill somebody off …

Favorite season and why?

Summer. In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Why? It’s paradise.

Superhero you most admire and why?

My husband, for reasons too numerous to list.

Super power you'd love to borrow for awhile?

Flying. I’ve done this in my dreams a few times. It’s awesome.

Favorite chore

Is this a trick question?

Anything you'd do but don't because of fear of pain? What is it? Ex. Bungee jumping, sky diving, running with scissors.

I will never snowmobile again. I will never snowmobile again. I will never snowmobile again. I will never…

Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.

All the folks who say “For you and I.” Everybody does this now. Agh! Even writers. Even preachers and teachers and speakers—people who oughtta know better.

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

Poor customer service.

Thanks Brandilyn. Happy Friday the 13th, everyone.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Coral Moon

Appropriately, the author interview will post tomorrow, Friday the 13th. Could it get any better for the queen of seatbelt suspense...wait til you see her answers. shudder. Buckle up and check out Coral Moon.

The book link is:

Brandilyn Collins is the bestselling author of Violet Dawn, Web Of Lies, Dead of Night, Stain of Guilt, Brink of Death, and Eyes of Elisha just to name a few.Brandilyn and her family divide their time between the California Bay Area and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.She also maintains an informative blog called Forensics and Faith where she daily dispenses wisdom on writing, life, and the Christian book industry.


Kanner Lake....don't really want to visit, but I sure am enjoying reading about the place. Sounds beautiful, homey, like a slice of traditional America....except for the murders.

Nothing like a little murder to totally twist a sweet little tourist spot into a mutated pretzel of doom.

At least poor Paige gets to sit this one out. Well kind of. She's at least got other things to think about than the body she found in her hot tub. Hint...a certain handsome.

Oops don't want to spoil the story.

Bottom line, if you love Collins stuff, you'll find much to like in Coral Moon. This is her best yet. Plenty of gruesome and twisted creepiness to keep the suspense fans whipping through the pages, and lots of down home sweet and charming characters. Most of them anyway.

Well done. Quick read. Great story. Might want to read it in the full on sunshine. After me, you don't want to go there.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Going, Going, Gone...

Is it dead?

chiv·al·ry (sh v l-r )
n. pl. chiv·al·ries
1. The medieval system, principles, and customs of knighthood.
a. The qualities idealized by knighthood, such as bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry toward women.
b. A manifestation of any of these qualities.
3. A group of knights or gallant gentlemen.

A few recent incidents have morphed into a monster sized question.

I’ve mentioned the whole cell phone in the public restroom thing before. Ewww.

Apparently, cell phone etiquette is not being taught. I suppose text-messaging “socially acceptable cell phone usage” tips is out of the question. Verizon, Qwest, Sprint – feel free to use my idea.

My co-worker shared her frustration over standing in line at a department store counter as a woman tried to return an item while multi-tasking by talking on her cell phone. The cashier had to interrupt her conversation four times before the woman exploded, hung-up, dealt with the transaction and stormed from the store.

Hmmm. The weighty word “hello” comes to mind.

I hate to judge, but I often overhear cell phone conversations. Generally they resemble something like this.


“Yeah, I’m bored.”

“Did you see American Idol?”

“*#%*$! Me too. I can’t believe it.”

Now that we have the Bluetooth technology with ear pieces, communication has hit a new level.

Have you carried on a conversation with someone who is talking to the voice in his or her head yet? That’s fun. Something to look forward to.

This morning I practiced a bit of reverse chivalry – it was either that or becoming one with the carpet. Three healthy, seemingly in their right mind and moderately intelligent young men filled a hallway as they walked toward me. Kind of like a football offensive line. I ducked into a doorway. Maybe they were practicing for the annual running of the bulls’ festival. Or I might have donned my invisibility cloak instead of my jacket this morning. I was a little fuzzy when I left the house.


Okay, so which is a dying art? Chivalry, courtesy or common sense?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Holiday Snippets

For the want of anything of value – let me ramble on about nothing. Maybe something will gel, fall out and bounce off the floor. Then if it does, I can pick it up and run with it.

Conversations yesterday with my fabulous family and friends netted some tiny fragments of ideas that could be twisted and misaligned into possible entertaining anecdotes for your perusal.

The idea for a deaconess cart was brought up at church – it quickly went downhill from there and now the entire deaconess committee is hoping to get a golf cart aka the deac-mobil to transport communion supplies back and forth. Yes, I agree. This is a sad picture of American Christianity. But did that stop me from participating in the banter? And I am not going to enter the debate or conversation regarding the title – deaconess. Let me just say that our denomination does not use pom-poms or lead cheers.

Speaking of gluttony – served with three full meals yesterday. And as my insane F and F are wont to do, we found a different twist on the whole “a starving child in a ____________ (insert third-world country here) would love to have what’s on your plate” guilt trip. One location served a tweak on the traditional ham…corned beef. A teen person left a chunk on her plate. Her father said. “Hey, there’s a starving Irishman who’d love to have that.” (Said person was Irish – so it’s okay to share – no comments about unfair comments).

Finally, conversation turned serious and even a little sinister as a cousin shared a recent hunt for art. His hair-stylist has great paintings on his walls. Cousin asked where they’d come from. The stylist looked both ways, leaned in close, and whispered. “I’ll tell you sometime.”

Weeks – maybe even months (I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the real details) my cousin received a cryptic phone call. “This is Agent X, (okay, it was really the stylist’s name – but it was still weird) meet me at the unmarked warehouse on the waterfront. Park in the alley, walk around front.” They found the unmarked building and a man standing outside, he held six different leashed of six dogs who were in various stages of doing their doggy duty. The guy jerked his head toward the building…so they entered.

My cousin left with some sweet deals on original art, and the instructions to tell no one the location of the building.

Hey, I warned you.

If I don’t get targeted by Agent X – I’ll be seeing you around.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - In High Places

In High Places :

Tom Morrissey:

The Review:

I didn't know what to expect when I cracked open "In High Places."

Would it be a traditional action-packed guy type of read, or would I find something to take with me?

The cover hinted that I might find some richness, and depth, so I took a deep breath and opened it.

From the first paragraph I was pulled into a world of stark beauty and unforgiving landscape. I didn't expect to get as involved with the characters in this novel as I did, and I'm glad I invested the time and heart into their story.

This is not a plot-driven, adrenaline-adventure as much as a character study. Yet it is a fast-paced read because of the constant tension. There was no place that I wanted to set the book down, and I ended up reading late into the night several nights in a row.

From the detailed teaching, and interweaving of mountain climbing techniques and tools, to the richness of relationships, to the agony and ecstasy of the human condition, I was sucked in.

This is a novel for readers who want to savor story.

Tom Morrissey took me to mountaintops and taught me things I never knew I wanted to know.

I'm not into techie stuff, most of it leaves me cold, but Morrissey has done an amazing job of throwing in enough technical jargon and details to make his story crackle with intensity and foreshadowing.

Some might be frustrated with the slightly slower pace of the literary style. If you hate literary, you might not enjoy this book, but then again, you might. Some will be disappointed at the reality of life and how it taints our hopes and expectations. If so, you may want to avoid reading this book that doesn't follow sit-com formatting.

If you want a beautifully penned, powerful story of redemption, one full of sadness, reality, pain and heart breaking starkness, then I believe this book will touch your soul.

I am a new fan. I intend to find his other novels and read them.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Throwing Hair

A random thought occurred to me around 7:10 a.m. this morning.

This is a near miracle in itself. Rarely, am I awake enough at 7:10 a.m. to experience anything resembling a clear epiphany.

Would I go so far to call this an epiphany? Ha.

That would be a “no” for the uninitiated to the way my gray matter ebbs and flows.


You sure? Because not only is it rich, it is pre-coffee.

Porcupines must really throw their quills. I believe this because I have been victimized by the art of small hair throwing mammals.

As I struggled to consciousness this morning, nearly twenty minutes after getting dressed and smearing makeup in the proper spots, I realized the calico had made a mattress of my body.

I wore black. Had the creature on my lap been black, I wouldn’t have coaxed it gently off of me. But calico is yet another story. Carefully, I pushed and prodded, hoping not to startle it as one would hope to avoid startling a skunk. With a yawn, and dirty look such as only a cat can muster, she stretched and jumped to the floor.

There, in the brief airborne split-second, she released a cloud of orange and white hairs which beelined for my black and immediately wove themselves into the fiber of my clothing. Did I see a single black cat hair? No.

See what I mean?

And we call them dumb animals!

Beware of small creatures throwing anything. Our local zoo houses a gorilla that amuses itself by throwing …ugh…never mind.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Trivial Tuesday

Tuesday greetings with a few random comments for your perusal.

I've been busy writing an article on the Pulitzer Prize. You may want to check it out by visiting NovelJourney. April 3rd post - The Pulitzer Prize

And a person near and dear to me posted one of the funniest posts I've read in awhile. I think it's his masterpiece. Of course, the fact that I know him well and can picture this event is screamingly funny. Some day I may share some of his early driving experiences. Let's just say the garage has never been the same. And he may or may not share a genetic bond with a certain Pat. Me, My Wife and the Wii - March 27th post.

I'll be reviewing "In High Places" later this week. Alas, no interview yet. But a powerful novel.

I've spent some time in Nannyland recently. Nothing like spending time with small children to help get your priorities straight, and to infuse you with simple pleasures in life.

When was the last time you squealed and clapped your hands?

Try it. If nothing else, it will buy you plenty of space as others recoil and walk on the other side of the street to avoid you.

Parent teacher conferences. Gotta love them. And that's all I'm going to say.

I'm thrilled I'm not a teenager, and grateful that most of us do grow up.