Saturday, May 31, 2008

Super Cinema Saturday ~ Dan in Real Life

My thoughts. Click on the picture and go to Amazon and read 93 more reviews, if you'd like. I gave it 4 stars.

Almost as awkward as a coming of age story, Dan in Real Life, is full of sweet and grief filled moments. Steve Carell plays Dan, a parenting columnist who has single parented three daughters since his wife died four years earlier.

He and his daughters pile into the car and head to Rhode Island to the family summer house. The cabin, full of brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews as well as his parents is a place where Dan can be himself and be humbled in the process. Carell plays grief-numbed very believably. I thought it might be difficult to separate him from Michael Scott, but other than flashes of Michael, Steve played Dan, and I bought into it.

On day one with his extended family, Dan is chased away from the cabin by his mother when his daughters reveal togetherness tension. While away, Dan meets a woman and bares his soul.

There are some touching scenes, humorous moments and a celebration throughout of family in all its warty importance. The familial interaction feels real. Of course, I come from a touchy, feely, in your face family. Some from hands off homes may struggle with the intimacy of the group.

There is some predictability. Juliette Binoche plays Marie, who except for a few glimpses of emotion doesn't come across as right for Dan. But then, that's often the way friends and family see couples, as mismatched.

Overall this flick is heavier than a first date movie or feel good romance and definitely worth looking into further.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Tina Ann Forkner

Tina Forkner visits. Charming answers to the dregs questions. Don't you think? Don't forget to read the first chapter of Ruby Among Us.

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

It would have to be the bat, Stellaluna. Just like her, sometimes I just get the sense that I don’t quite belong in this big world of publishing. When Stellaluna discovers she’s really a bat and that the reason she can’t perch on a tree limb is because she wasn’t made to, I get a little teary eyed.

And I love it when her bird brothers and sisters try hanging upside with her. It’s a great story about misunderstanding who we think we are and learning to be friends with people who are different.

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

It would be Shakespeare. “Who were you really and which stories did you actually make up and which ones did you simply adapt for production?”

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

I don’t think it’s strange, but I have to have music, a quiet house, and something hot to drink nearby. My music consists of all different styles, but it can’t be anything loud. I still like Edie Brickell and the Bohemians, REM, Harry Jr., U2, Keith Urban, Amy Grant, Norah Jones, and lately it’s been a little bit of Colbie Callait, Faith Hill, Joss Stone, John Mayer and Jordin Sparks. It changes depending on the day of course. As long it’s not too loud, the flow of my writing sort of moves with the music.

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

“After all, the richest source of my fiction does come from life as I have misunderstood it – its contradictions, its unanswerable questions, its unlikely twists and turns.”

Amy Tan, from The Opposite of Fate

What period of history intrigues you the most?

Believe it or not, the 1800’s. That’s why I love Jane Kirkpatrick and Kim Vogel Sawyer. I write contemporary fiction, but at one time I thought I would be a historical writer. I think I am so intrigued by it because it gives me a glimpse of how my great-grandmothers might have lived. It inspires me that they lived through those times that took hard work and probably a lot of faith.

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

Something worms its way into my heart when I am put into the circumstance myself, so I guess it would be truth. For example, I always felt compassion for single moms, but I didn’t really understand or respect them until I went on that journey myself and saw what it was really like. I’m happily married now, but I now have a bigger heart for single parents and their children because I understand how someone can end up in that situation.

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

I’m not just trying to score points with my mom, but it would be the Bible.

Favorite book setting and why?

I think a book or a scene set beside the ocean. The smells, the sounds, the expansiveness, the sense of freedom seems to open new possibilities for the characters that can’t be had in the boundaries of land and cities.

What word annoys you more than any other?

It’s like, you know. I mean, like really. It’s like the word that gets misused like all the time. Like know what I mean? It’s like, I mean it. I know we still have to use it, but can we use it the right way? I don’t like it at all. Like… you know?

Superhero you most admire and why?

It absolutely has to be Mrs. Incredible. I don’t know how she does it all with being a mom and a superhero, but I think if I had her stretchy arms and that tone of voice she gets when she’s mad I could totally get people, like my kids and hubby, to do my bidding and change the world.

Super power you'd love to borrow for awhile?

That’s easy. Besides Mrs. Incredible’s stretchy arms, it would have to be her daughter’s ability to disappear so I could get some uninterrupted writing time.

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

It would have to be the way we make snap judgments about each other. Just look at how the media blasts the stars and how society just keeps on wanting to hear more of it. A little bit more grace in our society would be fantastic, along with some rearranged priorities about what is truly important.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Forward from a Cynic


(My cynical and slightly off-kilter wonderful brother shared these helpful hints with me. Please don't try these at home, kids. And if you do and it turns out hilariously funny then send pictures!)











SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES - NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS ( I know, I know! Tasteless and awful on at least three levels. But I can't stop laughing. Let's call it a nervous laugh, stress relief...whatever... rather than what it actually is.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Ruby Among Us

Visit Tina's blog, click on her book cover, or read the first chapter. Come back Friday for an interview.

Book Description:

Sometimes, the key that unlocks your future lies in someone else’s past...

In Ruby Among Us, Lucy DiCamillo is safely surrounded by her books, music, and art─but none of these reclusive comforts or even the protective efforts of her grandmother, Kitty can shield her from the memory of the mother she can no longer remember. Lucy senses her grandmother holds the key, but Kitty seems as eager to hide from the past as Lucy is eager to find it.

From the streets of San Francisco and Sacramento, to the lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley, Lucy follows the thread of memory in search for a heritage that seems long-buried with her mother, Ruby.

What she finds is enigmatic and stirring in this redemptive tale about the power of faith and mother-daughter love.

My Review:

Ruby Among Us is a coming of age novel that wends its way through the lives of three women and the men who have loved them. Exploring the complexity of a young woman's fight to know the truth and an older woman's desire to protect her granddaughter from it results in a slow waltz of control, passion, fear and longing. Moments that shine of allegorical truth swirl within the story of Lucy and Kitty who live steeped in sorrow and guilt in parallel companionship that is only an inch deep.

Decades of story unfold when Lucy struggles to find out the truth about her mother's short life. Her quest takes her from a college campus to a vineyard, from death to death of innocence and from longing to sorrow to acceptance.

In the advanced reader's unproofed copy I struggled with some POV/tense issues that no doubt have been taken care of in the final version.

Inspirational fiction fans should find quite a bit to like in Ruby. Literary or romance fans may not find enough of either to really satisfy though there are flashes of each. The faith elements are realistically handled and some heavy duty topics are covered with grace and sensitivity.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Piddling Along....

I don't think this will be a flattering comparison, but this is where I live, people.

As much as I don't want to, I really can't help finding similarities between the Christian walk and puppy training or maybe the more appropriate title of puppy wrangling.

I suppose I'm not the only one to make this connection since there is that very unpleasant scripture regarding dogs and their vomit. But I'm not even going to go there, I'm not exactly a Solomon.

Point One.

No matter how much I congratulate myself or my daughter regarding the mastering of potty training, we are still unable, at the one year mark, to trust the puppies to be home alone in the house. Oh, they do very well with supervision... most of the time. However, two puppies guarantees distractions, and distractions and moderately full bladders equals accidents waiting to happen. And they do.

When we first got them and Rob and I puppysat, within twenty minutes we might have six accidents (the puppies, not us). The big issue seemed to be the previous owners training the puppies to use puppy pads, so they seemed to think the world was just one big old puppy pad. How many rolls of paper towels did we go through? How many bottles of cleaner? Oy! Eventually, they seem to understand that outside = potty. Good girl. Treats! Happy people. Indoor = not potty, not happy people.

Lately, with the rain, we've discovered that they will go as close to the house as possible. Better than the floor, but we're talking a yard that is just shy of an acre. A branching out would be nice. But the rain is not something they care for. And we've set out a board to help cut down on tracked mud. Lola, the especially rain-hating, will go on the board every time she's not directed elsewhere. And Lily will head outside and chase a leaf and forget to go potty, so we have to watch her to make sure she goes. They both have played the "I went, now I get my treat!" game and have only piddled when there should be some puddling going on and we have to tell them to go again.

I'm glad we live in the country. I'd hate to have close neighbors have to listen to the endless chants of "Go Potty!" " Lily! No! Potty! Lily! Go peepee!" "No! Not on the board, Lola!"

So how are we, as Christians, like puppy training?

We have bad habits that make the new ways of walking and talking difficult to embrace.

We have to be told over and over again. Seriously, when was the last time you got a spiritual truth the FIRST time you encountered it? I have to hear it Sunday, read it Monday, be slapped by a real-life example on Tuesday, and then have it set to music on Wednesday. And that's just week one.

We are so fearful and skittish of things outside of our experience/comfort level, that we hover as close to the door as we possibly can. So much so that we sometimes have to leap over piles of our own making, or walk right through them.

That's enough for today. I'm getting a little depressed just thinking about it. Hope you are not tracking through bad habits and leaving a certain perfume wherever you're going today. I'm going to check my shoes, and between my toes because I'm smelling something a little rank.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Super Cinema Saturday ~ 27 Dresses

Cover Description:

Katherine Heigl (TV's Grey's Anatomy) lights up the screen in this charming romantic comedy from the screenwriter of The Devil Wears Prada."
Heigl stars as Jane a romantic completely selfless woman who has been a bridesmaid in no less than 27 weddings. Unfortunately her own happy ending seems to be nowhere in sight. Until her younger sister Tess captures the heart of Jane's boss -- on whom Jane has a secret crush inspiring Jane to change her "always-a-bridesmaid" destiny.

My Review:
Wedding Planner fans have already probably seen 27 Dresses and loved it. The two films share a love of wedding details and the romance of the moments...all the moments leading up to the trip home from the honeymoon.

I happen to fall somewhere in that category so I liked 27 Dresses. Some of it I liked a lot. Jane and Kevin have a sweet and spicy relationship that comes off as believable. Katherine Heigl also plays the part of a martyr with some great facial comedic moments. I liked the flavor and personality of the film and had fun watching it. I appreciated that I didn't have to watch sex, though I heard a bit about it, and there were behind the scenes moments.

I didn't care for Jane's sister Tess and didn't buy into the passive aggressiveness of the relationship and Tess's extreme selfishness. I didn't buy Jane's long-term crush on George either. Jane's best friend claims to have a defective moral compass and demonstrates that throughout the film. Don't get me wrong, she's funny, but it's not humor for your great-grandma or your ten year old. There are several s-words sprinkled throughout and an F-Bomb is muffled during a massive Jane meltdown.

Overall, 27 Dresses is a fun movie that falls into the PG13 category for a reason. It is one of those that a group of women can pop in while they gorge on chocolate and popcorn and paint their nails (hopefully not at the same time). Or a fun date night if you don't get embarrassed with innuendo and outright crude comments. Good for a few laughs and a couple of sighs.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Sigmund Brouwer

Sigmund sent a special link to a music video "Beautiful Bird" that you just have to see. It has special significance to him and only partially because it's from his wife Cindy's new CD. I think I can safely say that his daughters are little angels.

Without further is the Q & A for today.

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

Joe Hardy. I cut my teeth on those mysteries, and he was
my hero when I was in third grade. I’d walk around copying down license plate numbers of suspicious people, and practice following people around town, just to hone my detective skills.

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

If you limited me to one person, it would have to be the designer of Stonehenge: why?

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

If I can’t golf three times a week, I’m totally unable to be creative. That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.

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

No more rhyming and I mean it. . .anybody want a peanut? From the Princess Bride.

What period of history intrigues you the most?

Ancient Rome. So much like the United States and politics today, yet so incredibly different.

What makes you feel alive?

Having my little girls run toward me, shouting my favorite word: Daddy.

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.

Moon, hands down. To get a sense of the immensity of the universe. But only if you guaranteed me safe re-entry. It’s not that I’m a coward, I just want to spend as much time with my girls as possible.

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

Not only today, but every day to the end of that week at Henry Horton State Park with our family ritual. There’s a wide, shallow river where the girls play and my wife and I sit in lawn chairs and watch as they dig out crawdads. Then up to the playground, and then onto playing catch with the girls. Followed by ice cream cones on the way home.

Thanks, Sigmund.

And I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend, friends and fam.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Broken Angel

Come back tomorrow for Sigmund's Dregs interview. He's even giving us a link to a special music video.

  • Description: (Which contains a link to read the first chapter.)

    Her birth was shrouded in mystery and tragedy.
    Her destiny is beyond comprehension.
    Her pursuers long to see her broken.
    She fights to soar.

    A father's love for his daughter…a decision that would change both their lives forever. But who is she really─and why must she now run for her life?

    Caitlin's body has made her an outcast, a freak, and the target of vicious bounty hunters. As she begins a perilous journey, she is forced to seek answers for her father's betrayal in the only things she can carry with her─a letter he passes her before forcing her to run, and their shared memories together.

    Being hunted forces Caitlyn to partner with two equally lonely companions, one longing to escape the horror of factory life in Appalachia and the others, an unexpected fugitive. Together the three will fight to reach a mysterious group that might be friend or foe, where Caitlyn hopes to uncover the secrets of her past...and the destiny she must fulfill.

    In the rough, shadowy hills of Appalachia, a nation carved from the United States following years of government infighting, Caitlyn and her companions are the prey in a terrifying hunt. They must outwit the relentless bounty hunters, skirt an oppressive, ever-watchful society, and find passage over the walls of Appalachia to reveal the dark secrets behind Caitlyn’s existence–and understand her father’s betrayal.

    Prepare yourself to experience a chilling America of the very near future, as you discover the unforgettable secret of the Broken Angel.

    In this engrossing, lightning-paced story with a post-apocalyptic edge, best-selling author Sigmund Brouwer weaves a heroic, harrowing journey through the path of a treacherous culture only one or two steps removed from our own.

    If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE.

My Review:

A fascinating look at a future time with chilling possibilities. The story of Broken Angel centers around a daughter with a secret, even to her, and a father who gave up everything to keep it just that.

The government, a form of Big Brother, knows all, unless one is clever enough or daring enough to test that theory. Jordan is, and Caitlyn is left to pick up all the pieces, the trails and the horror of what has just been revealed to her and what might lie ahead.

Action-packed, well-written, full of moments of creepiness, this book is a lightning-fast read and hopefully book one of a series because I would really like to find out what happens after "The End." Broken Angel is my first Brouwer book but it won't be my last.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles - Happy Birthday Lily and Lola

I think Grand-Puppies are a great idea. Lily is fixated on the treat in the top view. Lola freezes pre-salivation in the bottom picture.

(Treats...a wonderful invention and the only way to stop the whirling dervishes.)

C-U-T-E. Rob's legs and feet appearing also.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Pictorial Recap of the Week

My new haircut. The girls bought me a new do for Mother's Day plus some serious trimmin's. My son and his wife threw together a gourmet meal and a sweet pair o' earrings ....definitely my favorite Mother's Day yet.

Here we have angry eyes times two...except for the smirks...hard to do it on command. I need to get some angry eyes from Rob. He's the best.

And a pretty from my front porch. The sun was shining, the sky was blue...I'm attracted to sparkly objects. What can I say?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Embrace Me

Click on the cover to find out more about Embrace Me, and here to visit Lisa Samson. She answered the Dregs questions on a previous visit, here. (scroll down)

If you'd like to read the first you go.

My Review:

Lisa Samson has crafted a novel that will likely thrill her fans. Not only because Samson shows her immense talent with words in Embrace Me. But because Samson revisits some characters from previous novels. I was pleasantly surprised to find out some characters that I grew to love are doing well -- thriving even. But those folks aren't the focus of the story.

A character study unlike any I've ever read, Embrace Me, showcases wounded characters over the span of a decade or so. Drew emotionally drowns in his selfishness and then attempts to purge the selfishness out of his system one cigarette at a time. Eventually his outside scars will mirror his inner ones. Valentine, has become a cynical and wounded heart encased in a reptilian mask. In an attempt to survive she sells peeks of her damaged face at a carnival side-show. Billed as Lizard Woman, she flaunts her pain, but becomes a prisoner as she will only go out in the darkest moments of the night. A smattering of additional characters like Lella, the sweet, selfless "human cocoon" who gives Valentine a reason to go on living, Gus, a modern day monk, Blaize, the woman who takes Valentine and Lella in, add richness and even more depth to the novel.

The story span begins with Drew's meltdown in 2002 and Valentine's arrival in the late fall of 2008 and the unfolding of details regarding a very, very small world and a very involved, very big God.

I will say that some readers might struggle with the subject matter. Samson doesn't paint false pictures. Her characters are very real, and often not pretty. They resemble real life churches and families, those who don't hide their dysfunction under glossy "church face" glitz and glitter anyway. Rough subjects and rough behavior fill Embrace Me. One of the reviewers I work with struggled with writing a review and with finding the point, so unless you like digging into characters and are unconcerned about plots that leave breathing room, you might want to look over several reviews before buying Embrace Me. But if you like Christian fiction that pushes the envelope and makes you think and get lost in the lives of broken people...I recommend it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Super Cinema Saturday ~ Atonement

My Review:

Atonement is a difficult movie on several levels. Emotionally, it's a tale of twisting logic and the power of simple words unleashed. It's a story of what ifs and if onlys. An epic full of longing and sorrow, passion and pain,

Atonement is not a movie to watch to unwind after a taxing day full of drama, unless intense drama onscreen helps you unwind. Though the writing is tight and intriguing and the acting spot-on, the transitions from some scenes to others left me scratching my head.

Several scenes are revisited with different points of view. I also struggled with following a couple of time line events for the same reason. One character ages from ten or eleven to eighteen but the stated time frame is only five years unless I missed a heading telling the viewers of a time change.

I will have to watch Atonement again because I'm not sure I fully appreciated the message of the film. Though Atonement is the title, I'm not sure how this played out throughout the storyline. When it's all said and done, I don't see it. I can't say anymore without a spoiler, so I won't.

Atonement is not going to appeal to the majority of movie lovers. Historical fans may not find enough historical richness though there are plenty of shadows and hints of the times. War epic fans may not find enough though there are strong and poignant war moments. Those who want cookie cutter endings definitely are going to want to avoid it unless in a mood to cry. Fans of tragedy or human character and the study of why people do what they do may really find the most satisfaction.

Sensitivity warning...the war scenes are peppered with the F-word, and a young man pens a note sharing what he'd like to do sexually with the woman he loves and one crude anatomical word is shown several times. Child endangerment and adult-child inappropriateness are an issue early in the movie. A couple are shown in a sexual embrace though much is hidden by clothes and lighting, an assault with a glimpse of nudity as well as a young woman in a white, wet dress add to the need for the R rating. Some war injuries are moderately intense as are the death of some horses.

The acting is the major reason I'd suggest the film. Cinematography and writing would be the secondary reasons. Otherwise, if you are ambivalent, rent before you buy or skip altogether unless you like your stories to go really deep into the reality of cause and effect.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Amy Wallace's Healing Promises

Amy Wallace visited the Dregs last spring. Read her entertaining interview here (scroll down). If you want a sneak peek at Healing Promises, click here to read the first chapter.

And without further review:

Amy Wallace once again tackles tough subject matter with skill and grace.

I'd heard mixed feedback before opening the cover of Healing Promises and I was concerned that I might not love it. One friend mentioned feeling a little like an emotional punching bag during her time with Clint and Sara.

I see where she was coming from -- the themes of cancer and child predators are grueling at best. Wallace fills her novel with clinical details and law enforcement procedure and the effects of the truth in those details applied to the lives of her characters. At times I needed to take a break from the emotion. Anyone dealing with close instances of child abuse or critical health issues might want to read the first chapter to get a feel for where Wallace takes the reader.

But the reader's emotional involvement in the lives of the characters and the angst over the drama shows Wallace's skill with storytelling. Her characters feel like real people and compassion comes into play. With several points of view the reader is able to get a sense of the major players as the story progresses -- a front row seat to the struggles and triumphs and the failings and sorrows.

Healing Promises continues the tale of Steven and Gracie so readers of Ransomed Dreams should feel at home, but Healing Promises can stand alone. Fans of Karen Kingsbury might want to check into Amy Wallace. I need to add a sensitivity warning. Some scenes are brutal. The novel is full of suffering and details that might make a reader squirm.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Kelly on the Hot Seat... Part Two?

Xta has my phone number. She also has my NUMBER and she has re-challenged me to get a move on with answering my own darn questions. And since I'm not finished with the CFBA book of the week so I can actually review it today, I'm going to take Xta up on her challenge. And then I'm going to do some reading.

Below are the answers to two dregs of which requires creativity. Oy.

Comment away, friends. Guess what I described. Two possible answers. Go for it.

What crayon in the box describes you on a good day? Bad day? Which one do you aspire to be?

On a good day red. I consider it snappy and spicy, and I have tendency to want to spark things up. The second choice would be purple. I'm not sure why, I just like it and I think it's a solid listener type of crayon.

On a bad day pewter, if there is such a thing as a pewter crayon. If not I'll make it up or call it blue-gray. I don't often tumble into full-blown melancholy, but when I do I manage to eventually miss laughter enough that I crawl out. But melancholy and I are stormy at best. At worst, we produce golf ball sized hail if not swirling 50 mph winds.

What I aspire to be...Yellow = sunshine and light. One of my favorite T-shirt slogan sreads. "Be the moon. Reflect the Son." I want to be a full yellow moon.

Creative moments with Kelly -- Describe something without naming it.

Essence of coconut rides the salty air from half a beach away. Not my favorite scent, but wafting on the breeze, I'm all for it, especially since there is no sand along for the trip.

I reposition on my towel and sigh as the sand shifts and embraces me. Warmth radiates from below and the air currents caress from above and soon my eyelids become so heavy that they refuse to open.

If I could only remember the annoying question that seems to keep me half-conscious--oh well, can it be that important?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Facebook Nation

Three laptops, three females, a couch and a loveseat in a space of 49 sq ft or so.

And what are we doing? Blogging and facebooking. What time is it?

Eleven p.m.

Time to go act like a mother.

I think I'll send a "Go to bed." instant message to my daughters.

If you are reading this after eleven p.m. you should go to bed, too.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Sincerely Mayla - Virginia Smith

My review of Sincerely, Mayla.

Sincerely, Mayla is a sweet novel about inevitable collisions when comfortable, rutted paths intersect with God's roads.

Mayla, a wild child from a previous novel (Just as I am) which I haven't read, has hit her spiritual stride as a spruced-up, redeemed version of herself. But God isn't done with her yet.

Newly relieved of her job, Mayla sets out to fix controllable issues like her love life, and she finds herself detouring to mend some fences that keep her apart from her grandmother in Florida, and then veering into potholes left by friends in crisis. Mayla has the time for an extended trip, but her emotions are a different story and her mini-vacation proves to be quite a trip when all the dust finally settles.

Mayla is a cute escapist read that ends up convicting those readers who have gotten a little too comfortable, or who think they've figured God out and don't really need His hand to be involved in life's microscopic details. Smith tells a fun tale with an engaging voice and equally engaging characters. She manages to cover a whole lot of heavy issues like homosexuality and abortion in this easily navigated novel. A great summer fluff with substance read. You won't need to read Just as I am to appreciate the story, but it may be fun to see just how far Mayla's come.

Click for Virginia Smith 's Dregs interview, click here to visit her website, and on the book cover to visit Amazon.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Reality of the Value of a Dollar

This will possibly border on crass. It will definitely be a strange post. Oh wait, I guess most of them are.

When shopping at Target today I discovered something.

A majority of our hard-earned money goes toward things that make waste more aesthetically pleasing. Don't get me wrong, chances are really good that I won't make any major changes in my spending habits, but, well, it's something to ponder at nearly 10 p.m. on a Monday evening.

I spent $30ish at Target. A pair a clearance Capri's cost under $7.00. A bag of cat litter $2.40, chips $4.00, and a large industrial sized package of toilet paper cost $13.00.

What's wrong with this picture? How about $15.00+ for waste management, that's what.

Like I said, there won't be a lot of big changes on the horizon, but life is just like that, eh?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Saturday Sugar and Spice

In honor of Mother's Day. I have to share this. It's a PG-13 (violence and off-color comments) but oh, so ha, ha, ha.

And just pure sweet.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Freaky - Deaky Friday-Fest

The critters and I want to greet you with a hearty. "Happy Friday." But, the critters generally use non-verbal greetings such as a power jump with paws planted on your chest followed by everyone's favorite wherein eager snouts visit places where the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow, followed by a juicy kiss upside your do.

Those friendly little furballs would be Lily and Lola, the extroverts. (You can watch just a fraction of what they do when excited by clicking on the box. I will get better footage one day so you can see them in all their glory.)

Now Feral -- the wild one, and Stealth Cat -- aka The Screamer, will either hiss and disappear, stalk your ankles or have a wicked ugly cat fight that will curl your do.

Maybe I should be the only one who wishes you a hearty "Happy Friday."
It should probably be a freestyle poem of the lameish period.

Ode to Friday

Friday, Friday. You of short hours and lightning speed minutes.

Though the sky be drear and gray,
The sun of hope and expectations
Rises in the breast of all who work in cubicles.

I've heard it said that Friday
Just doesn't do it for weekend workers...
But should I care?
Melancholy, tortured artiste that I am?

Shall I abuse Friday,
Mayhap name a restaurant after it,
A disco, or a song?

Fri, fri, fri, what does fri mean?
Is that where fish on Fryday originated?
Fri, fri, free...freeday?
Yes, that must be the origin of this beautiful word.
Wallace didn't yell freedom.
No, he was calling for Freeday. It's on film.

May the sun shine upon you on the morrow, but only after you've gotten your beauty slumber.
May Saturday drag slowly, seeming endless, unless you have an awful list of chores.
May Monday delay.
Enjoy Friday.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Twisted Thursday Thoughts - Ow

So what does one wax eloquent about on a deliciously sunshiny and mild Thursday? Let me strain my brain.

I'll answer Xta's and Kim's comments. Xta = : ) Oh, I'm reading, Kim. Just not promoting anything. I'm reading in my car (while waiting, not driving, of course) before bed, between chores, while pup-sitting.

Actually, I couldn't swing a cat by the tail without hitting a book in progress. Note: PETA supporters, I would never swing a cat by the tail, especially mine. Three words. Teeth, claws, revenge. Which reminds me of one of my all time favorite jokes. The book title and author jokes like Yellow River by I.P. Freely.

My favorite is slightly off-color in the traditional wording. So I'm going to leave it to your imaginations.

Book Title: Cat's Revenge
Author: Claude (pick your poison...think body part or heck, go for furniture).

I did compose and enter the following poem at Chip MacGregor's annual bad poem contest. He probably won't pick it because I did go with the birthday theme and this puts me in the majority.

But, I think it's really awful and I did mention two things he really liked last year. A moose and puppies in dangerous situations. I left out his favorite lines though.
love, love, love
love, love
love, love, love.

Chip, it's your birthday, it's your birthday.
So dawg, consider this yo b-day rappin poem.

Dude, sweet b-day wishes, as you eat you cake.
Doncha worry bout no carbohydrate
Doncha cry about puppies on da loose
not about the contracts or Alaskan moose
Just put you feet up and take a breath
Life's just that until it's death.

See the other really great contenders here Bad Poem Contest and it's not to late if you want to try to beat me.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Waffling Wednesday

I'm not promoting a single book this week.

No reviews, no interviews. And since I started the whole Monday thing, I might as well see this through.

Tonight's theme -- prayer meeting highlights.

One of our youth has created a virtual pastor, our pastor, on some little hand-held gaming device. Even has the goatee. Pretty sweet.

A NEST of spiders has taken over a fake ficus tree and spun a bridge to a music stand. Fortunately, the decorating deaconess found this nest (after brushing her hair against it) (ha, sisterly love, of course) and two big, strong elders came to the rescue. One big, strong elder was no less than my handsome, spider-eradicating husband. He was even dressed for the part. He didn't have time to "change hats" before coming to church so he was decked in his sleeveless t-shirt. Upon his entrance into prayer meeting our 21-year-old wiseacre daughter said. "Dad, put those guns away."

(I have no idea where this child got her lip. )

If you couldn't tell, we're a fairly casual group on Wednesday evenings.

While the spider hunt was going on, I had a conversation involving Belgium Waffles.

Yes, we did get praying done, thank you very much.

Thursday is lurking and you know what comes after it. Hang in there...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Tuesday's Kelly Thoughts

Possible lame post warning. Keep reading at your own risk. Of course, it's likely you consider all my posts lame but keep coming back in hopes that you'll find something of value.

If you don't follow Dancing With the Stars, think Hollywood Squares and musical chairs melded with serious physical challenges and you may have a good idea what the show is about. Basically, celebrities of all types are paired with professional dancers and taught to dance. Those with the highest scores, half professional judges, half popularity with anyone who takes the time to dial or click, move on to the next week and start all over again with a new challenge.

Dancing With the Stars (DWS) is a guilty pleasure. I've watched a total of three reality television shows and this is one. I decided to give it a try since I actually had three free hours one week. Yeah right! (Watching on the Internet makes it less painful since commercials are very limited.) Now I'm hooked.

I've watched and loved Trading Spaces and What Not to Wear before DWS and thought I liked them for the practical advice and all the pretty colors. But then I realized that there is serious spiritual allegory and application in both of those shows. (Yeah, I'll share my thoughts some day.)

As I've watched the unfurling drama in DWS, I've discovered some fascinating truths there, too. Each week a Olympic gold medalist and NFL player of the year are pitted against...actors and all of a sudden viewers are able to see changes within the competitors. Big changes. People who started out thinking DWS might be great exercise, some nice visibility and/or fun realize they want to see the thing through.

Instead of snarkiness and backbiting, there seems to be a developing family that cheers for and actually wants to see others succeed. Each week brings another mix-up and another contender rises to the surface.

Everyone realizes that each week is new and challenging for all and all are at the mercy of judges, benevolent or not so benevolent.

What an interesting picture of Christianity as it should be. All of us with our own unique talents and experiences working toward the same goals, cheering on those who rock at the Samba while we may excel at the Viennese Waltz, knowing that our performance is only part of the process and that the process itself is the major point.

The process that shapes and changes me so that I can begin to see myself as I need to so that I can do what I was created to do.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Monday...a Lame Poem

Apologies extended to any brave souls who read beyond this sentence.

Mixed-Up-Ode to Monday

Monday, you are infamous. Second only to Friday in your 15 minutes of fame spotlight. How many melancholy songs mention you by name?

So really, should you be dismayed that


Let me tell you why you inspire my passion.

Every Monday morning robs me of sleep. It's true...even on busy Sunday I sleep an hour later. I can't help it if I get a little cranky while suffering sleep deprivation.

I like my job, really I do. But I like it so much more on Friday, and so, so much less on Monday.

And you make me feel guilty, too, Monday. How can I rejoice and be glad in this day that God has made when it's full of sleep deprivation, work and crankiness?

Good news. Tomorrow is Tuesday which is much closer to Friday.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Super Cinema Saturday ~ Expelled

My Review of Expelled:

I expected to sit through a documentary that would be a little scientific for my taste, and dry to the point that I'd zone out and visit my happy places during the inevitable lectures.

I didn't expect to experience the degrees of emotion I did or find the movie to be so well done that I only have two minor complaints.

The buzz over Expelled had me curious and wondering what kind of chopped up snippets of conversation I might run into or how many unauthorized songs and words would be within.

I'm going to start with my complaints and build on them. Some of the interviews included background instrumentals that wrestled with the dialogue, and a segment of live footage resulted in annoying choppiness bordering on motion queasiness. That's it.

Now, for the complaints of others.-- Expelled is filmed with an agenda. That's the point, ala Michael Moore and Al Gore who went before Ben Stein. And every talk or interview program, talk radio, newspaper or magazine editorial and feature, politician...well, I think you get my point. If you are enraged by the idea of someone investigating further into The Theory of Evolution vs. The Theory of Intelligent Design, this documentary will further infuriate you. If you fall into this description, I recommend you pass.

For the curious or those who wonder "why all the fuss" by all means, see it. Stein's investigation uncovers a school of thought that in the extreme and natural course becomes terrifying when compared to where we've been and what we've seen historically.

I can't imagine that the folks that Stein interviewed were ignorant regarding his stand on the issue of Evolution vs. Intelligent Design. If they were, then they didn't do their homework and maybe, in that case, should have been less forthcoming and a little more cautious with their words. And unless I missed something, exactly two lines were used from John Lennon's Imagine and the words were clearly attributed to Lennon.

There were several sections of longer interviews and then shorter one question, one answer moments with experts on each side of this huge debate able to share their thoughts and opinions. Interspersed are historical film snippets, both thought provoking and quirky, graphics and an animated cell sequence that was stunning. Stein provided a handful of laugh-out-loud moments with his quirky behavior and snippets of commentary which added a softening to the heaviness of the film's subject matter.

I thought long and hard after watching Bowling for Columbine. I appreciate Moore's passion for what he feels is wrong with America, and I was able to overlook the moments his liberalism stepped on my toes. I hope the scientific and academic communities and politically liberal will be able to do the same with Expelled.

Why on earth would anyone want to suppress science, truth or a mind that can reason, calculate and choose?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Jenny B. Jones' Big Picture

Jenny B. Jones popped in with some excellent answers to the Dregs. By the way, Jenny has been nominated for a Christy Award for her novel In Between. Pretty stinking huge. Congratulations, Jenny and thanks for dropping by.

Check out Jenny's blog and click on her book cover to learn more about Jenny. Read chapter one, here.

I'm really tempted to post one of the hilarious Jenny from the past pictures that she posted on her blog. But I'll be nice and post the provided regulation author pic.

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

I would ask Jackie O. what she really knows about JFK’s death. You KNOW she had to know at least something.

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

Go to computer. Open Word doc. Check email. Check phone for any texts. Think about my book for a few seconds. Check email again. Stare at blank Word doc. Phone has yet to beep, check battery. Check ETonline for latest news. Check CNN in case I have to act smart later in the day. Check email again. Check some blogs. Put my fingers on the keyboard. Repeat process—especially the emailing part.

If you could change something in any novel, what would you change about it and why?

I’d totally rewrite the movies (and books where applicable) to Fox and the Hound, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Old Yeller. Those movies scarred me FOR LIFE.

What crayon in the box describes you on a good day? Bad day? Which one do you aspire to be?

I would love to be the sharpest one…just once.

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

I would love to be a periwinkle giraffe and see what it’s like to be tall. But then again, giraffes eat a lot of leaves, and I do that already, so I would probably rather be the animal that doesn’t eat a lot of salads.

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

Pretty much anything that Rick Bragg has ever written. Makes you die a little inside and think “I’m not worthy!”

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.

I don’t know, but one day I’d love to write a YA princessy story along the lines of Enchanted or Ever After. I’ve never outgrown that phase.

What period of history intrigues you the most?

I love history, so any of it. Love reading about royalty and such. The WWII era is really fascinating to me.

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.)

I would write emails. And somehow get paid for it. When that gig opens up, I am first in line. Actually I have a friend who is a published composer. We have talked for a few years about putting our heads together and writing a campy musical. I would love to actually sit down and do that. Who has time? (Not me, I’m too busy emailing…)

What makes you feel alive?

The sun. I’m the palest thing ever and live in sunscreen, but I still love to be outside and see/feel the sun. I teach all day in a room with no windows, and it’s KILLING me. I KNOW it’s mood altering. My intake of chocolate has increased dramatically. Also music. LOVE it. Any of it.

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

Definitely humor. My students know that if they can get me to laugh, they can have pretty much anything. (It rarely happens..) I love to laugh and make others laugh. Things that also get into my heart usually involve some story of triumph—especially when it involves children.

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

CD—the Broadway soundtrack to Wicked. Or just my ipod so I could listen to a bunch of things. Food? Mike and Ikes and chocolate covered raisins.

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.

I would love to go to the Holy Land. My church just took a group and their stories and pics were amazing. They say it’s an experience of a lifetime. Next summer I hope to travel to my dream destinations Ireland and Scotland. I think it’s gonna be beautiful! (like my credit card bill!)

Favorite season and why?

I love them all. By the time I get sick of one, it’s time for a new one! But as for winter—I am obsessed with snow days. School closing-snow is like nirvana. I spend a million hours a week tracking the weather during this time. It’s really time well spent, I’m sure. ; )

Favorite book setting and why?

In terms of writing—the south. Because I know it and love it. We are people who know how to cook, know what a front porch is for, and that sometimes the dog just needs to sleep in the house. Just kidding. I love to focus on small town life and the culture of the south. As a reader, I love to read about England (historical) and NYC (contemporary).

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

When people tell me that the characters were real to them. Yesterday I got a message from a reader who said while reading the end of The Big Picture she had to collect herself from a crying jag before she went into church. It’s an honor that a reader has invested herself so fully into your fictional world and given up their time and attention and just jumped in.

What criticism has cut the deepest and why?

So far, so good…but I know my day is coming.

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

Eat. A lot. And hang out with my family. Maybe skydive. Try to think of who I need to apologize to. Write some letters. Check ETonline. Kidding.

What is your favorite word?

Redeemed. Not just for the meaning—I love the sound of that word.

What word annoys you more than any other?

LOL. I KNOW I’m in the minority, but I really can’t stand LOL. Wowsers is up there to. I read that word in books, but…don’t really know anyone who says it. (Have I managed to offend everyone now?)

Superhero you most admire and why?

My mom. She was a single parent and did an amazing job with two kids who weren’t the easiest. She was one of those parents who gave up everything for her kids.

Super power you'd love to borrow for awhile?

Super Memory Skills. Oh, to be able to remember birthdays, deadlines, where I put my shoes.

Favorite chore

None. Absolutely none. I hate anything that has to do with cleaning. When I was 16 I worked in a grocery store and got some strange thrill out of mopping the store by myself at night. I think the Clorox fumes did something to my brain.

Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.

I’m the opposite—overly correct drives me nuts. If someone asks me how I’m doing, and I say, “good,” I mean it! I’m not well. If I was well, I’d give you my temp and vital stats. I don’t care how grammatically correct it is! I’m GOOD! ; )

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

People who are too lazy to put their carts up and leave them in store parking lots. Next to my car. Where the new scratch is.

CREATIVE CORNER: Pick any of the following and have fun with it.

Swirling leaves riding the icy wind, danced up Liesel's skirt.
The leaves weren't the only things stirred up by the breeze which now carried the cloying scent of death.

I followed the trail into my house, trying not to wretch. My heart thudding with regret and fear, I opened the refrigerator door. And saw last month’s leftovers. Again.

I'm not so interested in boxers or briefs. I'm just looking for a good man to fill them. Heck, I find a good man and he can wear banana peels as far as I'm concerned.

Did you make that last one up? If so, take that off! That belongs in one of your books! That’s awesome!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles - Squirrel Harassment - Big Time

In my hometown we claim a special squirrel fame. Does that sound weird? Let me explain...we are one of the only natural, original homes of black squirrels. No, not grey, not rust, but black.

Because we have a unique squirrel situation, we have unique squirrel protection laws.

We are not allowed to harass black squirrels.

I don't know what squirrel harassment looks like.

However, the G.I. Joes' in the picture would be in big trouble if this squirrel's fur was a few shades darker.

I have no idea where this picture originated, but honestly, I just couldn't let it pass without comment.

The moral of this story: Hmmm. Don't harass ANY squirrels. Beware of the squirrel's revenge. Don't buy G.I. Joe action figures and leave them unattended. Keep your eyes peeled for roadkill for photo opportunities.