Friday, October 31, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles ~Scattered Spooky Moments

Feral, the cat, ate dental floss. How do I know this? Well, it was obvious.
Note: Cats do not care for humans who attempt to tug on something that is hanging from where it shouldn't be. Good news. This too, did pass.

I encountered an elderly person who entertained others mightily and another one who spewed nothing but poisonous complaints.
Note: If I ever become a poisonous complainer over an entertaining treasure put me away and toss the key.

A bad alternator, a misunderstanding, a change-up in plans can make a day seem to last forever.
Note: In the end it can all end up okay.

Sometimes, late at night, after a really long day, things that are typed and posted on blogs don't always make sense.
Note: I've got VERY forgiving readers.

Happy November, everyone.

I'm going to be stretching my comfort zone in Minnesota for a few days. So if you come back Monday and Tuesday, make sure you read all the posts containing the letter o -- nice and long.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Delightful Offspring

My daughter, aka 22, is a deaconess at our church. I'm pretty proud of her. Even though the term deaconess sounds a lot like a team mascot, it's a rough job and it requires much maturity. It can be a thankless position of serving within a church body. Sometimes what is required is way beyond her years and experience.

She runs a book club that is satisfying and plans womens' activities that have been fun and spiritually rich. Like I said, I'm pretty proud of her. Tonight, I attended her Pilates class. She always prepares a devotion and then encourages the very mixed group of ladies through the stretching, whining and groaning.

While she taught, I realized how gifted she is as a teacher, and how many women young and not-so-young respect her. What an amazing blessing it is to see God at work in my children. What a delight it is to see my children seeking God.

It's true. Proverbs 23:24
The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him.(Or a wise daughter.)

Now, if I could just get her to lay off my aching muscles.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Serials and Scenarios ~ Dangerous Heart ~Tracey Bateman

Tracey has visited the Dregs before. Click here and scroll down. You may visit her website, read her first chapter and check out Dangerous Hearts by click-click-clicking on the cover and highlighted links. And here's :

My Review:

Tracey Bateman brings the final book in her Westward Hearts series. Having not read the first two, I can't compare it to them, but, I imagine that fans of the series will find much to like as several characters seemed to finish out stories while others deepened relationships only hinted at in previous novels.

Classic prairie style romance complete with danger, drama and bad guys. Bateman threw in cholera, nasty cures and enough sensory information that I know for a fact that if I ever get a chance to time travel I won't be going back to places where doctoring required more guess work than tools. Nor where bathing involved the possibility of catching pneumonia since a bath on the trail involved open bodies of water.

Tracey Bateman write chick-lit and prairie romance with equal skill, no wonder she's a favorite of many.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Sold Out Debut

Here is the promised film-acting debut by yours truly.

Warning. Two F-Bombs appear in the film with an assortment of other off-color words and the sound is a little rusty.

You can watch it on mute...if you are concerned about language. My lines are the loudest, which says something about me. And for the record, the baggy, striped pants have been sent to Stacey and Clinton of "What Not to Wear" fame. There is a reason they say not to wear stripes on television.

Should you want to watch it muted but still enjoy my lines are "Snacks anyone? I'll just go ahead and get some." And "Honey, your father is just doing what he thinks best for the family. Cookie?" So go ahead and enjoy lip-reading. The F-bombs appear right after my last line, when my poor "son" throws the cookie, thus rejecting his mother's love, and in the following scene.

If you aren't concerned about language and want to know the rest of the lines that might be a little too quiet, YouTube has sub-titles in the bottom right corner. Click the box to the far lower right and look for the CC then click the arrow.

And, Birdie, I hope you find this more entertaining than Cloverfield which I will avoid, thank you.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Super Cinema Saturday ~ Fireproof

Fireproof is a must-see for so many reasons. For your consideration.

Despite the title and fiery photographs/trailers, this is not a movie just about intense drama and danger. Don't misunderstand, there is plenty of edge-of-seat drama and enough danger to make the two hour movie fly by, but if you don't want to see it because of the intensity factor, rest assured, the intensity is secondary to the story of Kat and Caleb.

Though this movie is made by a church, and mentions the uncomfortable words, Jesus, sin and afterlife, it also covers heavy, heavy subject matters that plague so many marriages. Though Jesus, sin and afterlife are mentioned throughout I'd estimate that spiritual matters are probably discussed a total of ten minutes in the two hours of film.

There is a touch of cheesiness. The low budget, the melding of soundtrack/dialogue in a few scenes, and the woodenness of a few secondary characters were minor irritants. However, Kirk Cameron does an outstanding job. I was truly impressed. I wasn't enthusiastic about the Left Behind movies and his part seemed pretty one-dimensional in that series of films. But in Fireproof, Kirk hits every possible emotion and is very believable as a man who is facing a fork-in-the-road.

The writing is well-done. The filmmakers have thrown in their customary goofy humor. Several scenes are laugh out loud funny which again makes the two hours fly by. Humorous one-liners are peppered throughout.

Fireproof is not just for married couples or married couples in a at-risk relationship. Everyone on the planet has relationships. The common sense "Love Dare" instructions and suggestions could help restore, mend or soften any hardened, near-dead relationship you might have.

I appreciated the realism that was represented in Kat and Caleb's struggle. Having a marriage that was as bad as theirs, and having been blessed by God's healing and restoration of said marriage, I know where they were coming from and their words and actions were very realistic. That realism and the end result should resonate with couples everywhere and bring hope to some really desperate people.

See this movie. Wait, if you must, for the budget theaters or for Red Box rentals so you don't have to shell-out big dollar movie ticket money. However, if you are in a relationship that is dying, I'd suggest that you invest the $8 or $10 a ticket and see it tonight.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Serials and Scenarios ~ Less Than Dead

Warning: If you read the first chapter, click here, you may become a fan like me.

Visit Tim Downs' Website. And come back tomorrow for a possible interview. Tim's on deadline, but he has the questions.

My Review:

How have I not run into Tim Downs and the Bug Man? Seriously! I LOVED Less Than Dead. Creative, clever writing, snappy sarcastic dialogue, three dimensional and humorous characters, and great plotting make this one of my favorite reads of the year. The fact that it contains major forensic oohs and ahhhs only added to the enjoyment. I will go back and pick up the rest of the series, but I can't imagine that they will be any better than Less Than Dead.

I love Nick and his nose for sniffing out trouble, when he's not making his own that is. I think I have maybe found a favorite fictional leading man in Nick. Alena was a tragic and mysterious leading lady and I love the idea that they'll be together in future books. The forensic details and Alena's dog skills were fascinating. The major story is the teamwork between the two major characters and the mystery pales in comparison to their friendship and all it's implications, though the underlying plot of a politician and skeletons is intriguing.

Two notes to others who may be looking to avoid or for something. Though a Christian fiction publisher, the Christian message is very, very light and there is a term or two that could offend very conservative readers or those looking for a strong inspirational thread. Secondly, the book is about murder and details pertaining to murders including icky facts and dialogue, so squeamish souls may want to thoroughly check out this novel.

Crime novel, forensic, mystery, or snappy character fans should find Less Than Dead to be a satisfying read.

Mr. Downs you have earned yourself a new fan.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Blossoming Dismay

My daughter, 22 as she’s known around the Dregs water cooler, is a major fan of The Office and as she is so enthusiastic in her appreciation, I’ve become a fan, too. She has purchased all four seasons on DVD and is now the proud owner of the board and DVD games.

Her plan is to throw an office party during the blah months of January/February and is preparing with lists, SWAG (stuff we all get) menus and trivia loading. To test her skills she challenged a friend to an Office-off. To get into the mood, several of us drove to Chili’s (home of several Office memorable moments). For days I’ve been hearing all about the Awesome Blossom appetizer that we’d order.

Last night she whipped through the menu – no Awesome Blossom. The waitress appeared and 22 said. “ It’s not on the menu, but you still have it, right?” The waitress adopted a sorrowful look. “No, I’m sorry, we don’t serve it anymore.”

22’s lip nearly quivered. “But I was going to order it and tell you to add some extra awesome.”

The waitress laughed.

Then 22 got over it – she is, after all, kind of like her mom. Being the cause of laughter is possibly even better than an Awesome Blossom with extra awesome. And after looking for a picture and seeing the nutritional details, way better for us. Yikes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Serials and Scenarios ~ Sandra Moore Limps On In

Sandra Moore dropped in to share some wit and wisdom with the Dreggers. Great reading on a rainy day, thanks, Sandra.

And scroll down and click to read the first chapter of Murder on the Ol' Bunions.

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

I'd like to be Purple. Rich, deep, alluring. I aspire to be red someday--daring, fun, extrovert. Ha! It just won't happen, I'm afraid.

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

Pink iguana. To be that ugly and then pink. I'd have all the other iguanas green with envy. Wait, they are green, aren't they? That periwinkle giraffe sounds good too. . .Gentle, kind giraffes, and periwinkle is such a lovely color.

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


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.


He wasn't after her to kill her, he only wanted her for her dentures.

What p
eriod of history intrigues you the most?

1842--China during the Opium Wars. A lot of American sea captains were involved during that time. Very intriguing.

What makes you feel alive?

Playing the newest Nancy Drew game with my daughter. :)

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

Definitely humor. Though I love quotes that make me stop and think, but humor is essential for me because I tend to be rather serious minded.

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'd love to cruise the Mediterranean islands simply because I've never been there and you can see so much in just a few days.

Favorite season and why?

I used to adore Springtime, but now I love Autumn. It might have something to do with the fact that our new house backs to the mountains and they are so beautiful right now. Spendid colors!

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

"Your book cured me of my insomnia."

It certainly gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling to know I had the power to HEAL! Insomniacs line up!

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

Get in the car with my family and drive to a secluded cabin, video camera in hand and recording. I'd take some time to make videos of myself "talking" to my daughter about those times in her life that I would miss. Then I'd cry. . .and cry. . .and cry. . .

Favorite chore

Isn't that an oxymoron?

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

How about just gardening and walking, or jogging, or even running? You see now why I write for a living. :)

Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.

When people leave off the comma before direct address.

Creative corner:
A man and woman sit at a table in an upscale restaurant. They each have a cell phone to their ear. What are you overhearing? Tell me about this couple…..

"I'm not speaking to you, Gerald. I told you I was right and that I'd never speak to you again if you went ahead and did it."

"You're speaking to me now."

"Not face to face. The phone doesn't count."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Serials and Scenarios ~ Murder on the Ol' Bunions

Cozy mystery fans will want to read the first chapter.

Come back tomorrow for Sandra's Q & A and visit her website here.

And now, my review.

Sandra Moore's debut novel sings. Snappy and creative wordsmithing, characters of substance and humor, and a mystery that will keep most readers guessing make Murder on the Ol Bunions an entertaining read. LaTisha is a laugh-out-loud, sarcastic woman with a strong will and a big soft heart.

Moore peppers her novel with delicious culinary moments, twisted red herrings and enough snarky commentary to keep half the town fed and on their toes. Long-suffering Hardy got my sympathy vote when LaTisha went into an occasional "keep out of her way" mode, but he got his darts in and the result of their interaction was as amusing as a sit-com. LaTisha's big heart makes her very sympathetic as she mourns her empty nest, and her able skills make her as asset to the tiny police department.

Those who love cozy mysteries should enjoy Murder on the Ol Bunions as much as I did, especially if you love strong women who put on a touch of tude.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles ~Fading Friday

Bonfires are big in Iowa. At least in the countrified sections. The sections where tractors live, and bales of hay fill barns. Where the harvest moon really does shine like a big orange superball through the haze of dust in the air.

My eyes are burning from the smoke, my stomach is churning over the hot dog and other unhealthy items I ate. The canine vacuums are not happy with me. I didn't take them and they smell other dogs!

Tomorrow I will pay. After I sleep in.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Terrible Mother Moment # 263

I am a horrible mother.

You think not. Well let me clue you in.

Today 22, aka my daughter -- incognito, and I took the puppies for a walk. Apparently they had a little go-juice sprinkled over their Wheaties this morning. Now, keep in mind that these are strong dogs in the 70+ pound each range. Boxer Black Lab mixes that are all legs and muscles. Got the picture? Good.

22 has this sweet leash that attaches to both dogs.

She had 140+ pounds of "horse" power in one hand.

Who knows what grabbed their attention? Possibly a bird, a leaf floating lazily on the breeze. Maybe even a wild hair/hare. Whatever it was ended the "nice" part of the walk. All of a sudden 22 got distracted at the exact time that the "team" decided to work as one and take off to visit a neighbor's yard.

If you are a water skier or know water skiing picture this...22 was a skier and the dogs were a speed boat. Her distraction was kind of like a "Hit it!" from the water. From the corner of my eye I saw 22 break into a world-record-destroying sprint." What the heck?" I thought to myself and then realized what had happened.

This is where the terrible mother part comes in. Did I yell at the dogs? (LIKE THAT WOULD HELP !) Did I offer her a helping hand? No, I laughed so hard I bent over double. Did I offer her any sympathy when she slid into home on her hiney? Or when she snapped and put the dogs back under her control? Did I even offer her an alternative to going back home again and changing her pants? No. No, I didn't, I was busy laughing and couldn't speak.

Sorry, 22. tee hee snort. Gotta go.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Serials and Scenarios ~ The Shape of Mercy

Book Description:

Lauren Durough is a college student longing to break free of family expectations when she stumbles into a project for eighty year old Abigail Boyles—transcribing the journals of Mercy Hayworth, a seventeenth-century victim of the Massachusetts witch trials. Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with the mysterious Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to discovering the candid truth, Lauren must earnestly ask if she is playing the role of helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and recognize who she really is?

In our high-pressure, success-oriented culture, readers will identify with Lauren’s struggle to forge her own identity separate from the plan her family designed for her. Offering intrigue, romance, and heartbreaking drama, this contemporary novel with a historical twist conveys the intense beauty that emerges when we see how our stories affect the lives of others.

My Review:

Susan Meissner captivates from page one. She takes a handful of people in quiet crisis of the soul and pulls them together into a story, weaving threads of mercy, love, grace and tragedy from present day to 1692.

The point of view and focus changes from ancient, fragile diary pages to modern here and now issues like relationships keeps the horror of the happenings during the Salem Witch Trials from becoming too much and too hard.

I know a book or a movie is pure gold if I walk away but can't leave the characters or the situations. I know a novel has gotten under my skin if I feel a sadness that colors how I think or absorb things for a few days. The Shape of Mercy is a golden sliver.

Some will not like it. Readers who don't care for deep literary styles or a glimpse into sorrow or evil be warned - heavy subjects are covered -- life, death, regret, love. Others might not want to read it if they expect all Christian fiction to have a gospel message clearly presented, there is only a light touch within these pages. However, there is a depth that will cause a reader to look within and ponder life and death.

Susan Meissner has yet to disappoint me. I hope her work continues to receives wider notice. Talent with all aspects of writing put her solidly in the category of must read.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles ~Monday Wisdom

My folks forwarded this news article to me.

I thought it was a refreshing outlook on life.

Omaha World-Herald 10/12/2008, Page E11 (if you click on the article it will get bigger.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Super Cinema Saturday ~ Young at Heart

It's been awhile since I reviewed a movie. But here's one, after this little announcement, Happy Birthday 22! I'm off to a mall shopping marathon to celebrate.

My Review:

A documentary with so much heart I'm pretty sure it would be impossible to watch without a few moments of blinking back tears. A performing ensemble made up of those in their very golden years, has set out to throw themselves into music and into the entertainment business with a sweet twist and unique takes on a quirky array of songs. Stand out numbers were Sonic Youth's Schizophrenic and James Brown's I Feel Good. The performance of Cold Play's Fix You just about undid me.

There are hilarious moments like a car trip with an 86-year-old at the wheel. Touching moments including a song dedication that didn't leave a dry eye in my house, or the sell out audience for that matter. And in between were the moments that brought life and death to the surface. Those moments shared with dignity and honesty.

Other than a smattering of off-color/suggestive comments (PG rated), Young at Heart is great family viewing.

As with all documentaries, the winding stories and details of life may bore children. If you hate documentaries you might not be won over to the genre by Young at Heart, but you'll also be missing a fascinating and encouraging slice of life if you skip it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Serials and Scenarios ~ Hometown Favorite

Whew. I power read this book for the book tour this week and just finished it.

Football fan? Looking for edgy? Read the first chapter here

Click on the cover to find out more info, or check out the author's website.

My review:

I wouldn't have chosen this book to read for pure entertainment. My major reason is football. I'm not only not a fan, I don't get the game. I also do not care for omniscient point of view. The authors vocabularies and talent resulted in some overwriting as well. That said, I was won over by the story.

Though I skimmed football details fairly often, football non-fans can find something to enjoy in this story. I'm not going to give away many details since they would be spoilers. I will recommend this novel to folks who wouldn't have issues like mine as stated above, and who are looking for edgy Christian fiction. There are usages of slang and a smattering of curse words in this novel. Heavy subjects like child endangerment, violence, sexuality,drinking and drug use give the book a solid PG to PG-13 rating depending on your sensitivity.

The authors paint a picture of grace and hope. Despair pops up, forgiveness and restoration are covered. It's not a light read, but it could be just the ticket for some folks. Those who are fans of Creston Mapes novels may want to check out Hometown Favorite.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Paws Again.

Since I've started on a theme of pets and their spiritual personality, I can't leave out Freckles.

Sigh. Poor Freckles. She has succumbed to the great spiritual enemy of fear.

Freckles used to be bold. She used to rule the house. In fact, Freckles was at one point a bully in all her boldness. She weathered a 130 pound canine and took all he handed out and gave it back. She did develop a series of bladder infections because her litter box sat near his kennel, but that's beside the point. Who knew!?!

Freckles undoing is Feral. He has shaken her confidence and rocked her world. I've encouraged her, we've restricted his access to her, we've given her peptalks to no avail.

Until Freckles realizes Feral is just a little bitty kitty, she's going to be conquered over and over again.

Hmmm. Who or what is crushing your inner Freckles? Rah. Rah. Go, Freckles, go.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ A Paws for Part Two

Spirituality through the eyes of Feral Will.

If Lily is Pentecostal and Lola one of the frozen chosen, Feral is critter who serves himself. God is not on Feral's throne and if He is, Feral is sitting on His lap and demanding He do as commanded.

In spite of the dog cat difference toward worship and loyalty, I think it's pretty amazing that thousands of years after the creation of the first animal, that they continue to do what God programmed them to do. Creation does point to an Almighty Creator God. From the songs of a hundred types of birds to the flashes of color of feather, flora and fur, God's creativity reaches out to each of us.

But back to my furry friends. Feral is the most self-sufficient one in the household. The girls and skittish Freckles need, oh they need. Feral's only lack is his inability to pour his own food into his bowl. Occasionally he likes a soft, warm body to sleep on, but really, that is negotiable.

To dig for the positives, I do have to say that when I open the door to the room where his food is stored, he is always alert and present before both bowls are filled. I wish I was that sensitive to God's work and His blessing in my life. I tend to get so distracted that I forget to look for Him in the details. And I guess that Feral's food dance could be praise for provision.

Maybe he's not so unaware as I think. I guess there is something I can learn about Feral and his response to God's provision.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ A Paws for a Lesson

While reading my Bible today, I had the special privilege of having a bit of a lesson mauled into my very soul. ( I'm currently trying to type very, very quietly because the maulers are laying on the floor, dozing in the sun. Should they awaken, who knows what will appear in this post.It takes a lot of energy to lick all exposed skin from an entire human being. Especially if you have to bite and wrestle with your sister while doing so. Oh, and sniff the cats while playing keep-away-from-the-claws.)

It occurred to me when I pushed a furry muzzle out of my biznes only to have another insert itself, that maybe, I should look at the enthusiasm of our resident canines as a model for my spiritual walk.

Lily will chase down a blessing. The girl is pure Pentecostal. I'm a little jealous. I tend to be a little more like Lola who could be considered a frozen chosen. But Lily, if she was in a church wherein she could wear diaphanous dresses and waltz through the sanctuary while laying-on-of-hands and singing praises at full volume, she would, without hesitation. She would wrestle with God until He gave her a blessing or a biscuit. Unfortunately, Lily does kind of think grace is cheap. She uses it all up and counts on the promise of God's mercies being new every morning.

Lily also needs loads of concrete reinforcements, i.e. "Go pee-pee and get the treat. Look Lily, smell it, yummy treat, now go pee-pee. Just go pee-pee. Nope, not enough, go again. Good Girl!!!! Yay!!!!"

Lola, though a little more reserved does have a servant's heart. She is very content to stand back and let Lily bask in all the attention. She also is more inclined to obey just out of loyalty and love.

I'd like to be a spiritual blend of both. A Lola with a greater sense of abandon and the heart deep knowledge that God does want to bless me and it's okay to ask.

Tomorrow, Feral's spiritual condition. (Beyond the name, that is.)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Serials and Scenarios ~ Siri Mitchell's A Constant Heart

Siri Mitchell has visited the Dregs before. Scroll down to peruse her answers and my review of Cubicle.

And, if you think you might like A Constant Heart, click on the book cover, here to visit Siri's website and here to read the first chapter.

Now, my review.

I am not a die hard fan of romance. Usually, they make me laugh because of the ubergooey sweetness and contrived plot points. I won't read them as a rule, and if I attempt one and see the words heaving and bosom on the same page, I'm done. Historicals are usually a safer bet for me, but sometimes I find myself nodding off and needing a strong whiff of smelling salts to continue.

I was a little apprehensive about A Constant Heart. If I mention I tend to be slightly ignorant of general history, you might not be surprised based on my previous paragraph. But, I took a chance on A Constant Heart because I loved The Cubicle Next Door. And I am a fan of All the Tea in China. If Siri Mitchell, who wrote a favorite novel attempted a historical, wouldn't it be a lot like All the Tea in China, another favorite novel?

Yep. Score. So imagine my surprise after reading a negative review at Amazon. The reviewer didn't care for A Constant Heart. I loved it.

Fascinating facts about a volatile time and a costly career intruigued me and made me want to look deeper into the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The story of the marriage and eventual love affair between the Earl and Countess was deeply melancholy and sweet. One scene in which the couple has a conversation with a salad and no words made me laugh out loud. The consequences and obstacles that the Lady and Earl faced while courtiers, to a queen who would be the very sun, were page turners. The writing leans literary, poignant in several scenes.

Told in alternating first person POV with the voice of Lytham and Marget, this is a very satisfying novel on many levels. If you would be unsettled by a unique POV switch, or with melancholy at the loss of life, fortune, and/or love, you may struggle with the story. A touch of violence in the age of quarterings and the Tower of London, and promiscuity in the court are elements that make A Constant Heart lean toward PG-13. Christian Fiction fans may find a lack of deep spiritual truths as well. But, if you love Mitchell, or if the era fascinates you you probably need to take the plunge.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Serials and Scenarios ~ This IS About Michelle Sutton

Page down if you missed the review and details of Michelle's book It's Not About Me. Thanks, Michelle.

Now without further ado. Here's Michelle vs. the Dregs.

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

I’d ask my mom what it’s really like in heaven since she is there right now enjoying the glory.

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

In the case of It’s Not About Me, I’d make sure the right PDF file copy was printed. There was a tragic mistake made and the copy sent to the printer was not the typo-free final final version, so if you find a few typos know that the copy printed was not the final one. But it’s too expensive to fix at this point. Most people don’t notice more than one or two, if any, thank the Lord.

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

How about I share a favorite phrase from INAM. Tony is hurling in the porcelain bowl and just told his brother he drank a pint of Southern Comfort. His brother, Dan, after asking him if he was trying to kill himself says, “Well, if puking your brains out is the comfort alcohol brings, I don’t see why you keep going back for more.” To which Tony replies, “Shut up!”

What period of history intrigues you the most?

I love WWII history. I find the whole Nazi oppression thing fascinating. How the world could turn a blind eye to such obvious evil and allow millions of people to be murdered under the regime of a madman.

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 love writing romantic women’s fiction. It’s my favorite genre.

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

Usually through deep emotion or incredible insight. Tosca Lee’s book Demon is a great example. I had so many “aha” moments I lost count. That is a brilliantly written novel.

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’d love to travel to Europe and see where so much history has taken place. I’d also love to go to an exotic island and just enjoy the ocean, but not by diving in it. That gives me the willies.

Favorite season and why?

Probably the fall. It’s just all around nice weather and the leaves turning is always pretty to look at.

Favorite book setting and why?

I’d have to say knights and castles. I enjoy going back in time in my mind.

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

When it comes to this story (INAM) I love how almost everyone has said they couldn’t stop reading it. That means it was compelling enough to set everything else aside and focus on where my story took them. Plus, I love it when they say a scene made them cry. It means the story touched their heart.

What criticism has cut the deepest and why?

I tend to forget the bad. Usually what I’ll hear is that it was too edgy for them. But that’s rare, actually.

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

I wouldn’t be answering interview questions. I’d have to think on that one.

What word annoys you more than any other?

Can’t stand the word preachy. Ick.

Super power you'd love to borrow for awhile?

The ability to eat and not gain weight. Is that a super power? If not, I want it.

Favorite chore

It wouldn’t be called a chore if I liked it.

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

People who are so insecure that they have to brag about themselves all the time and put others down.

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

Pick a Genre - Describe a kiss….

Has to be yummy. There are a million ways to write one. My favorite is when there is such a pull that they finally give in to it.  I love the kiss in the movie Bourne Identity. He just gets done washing, coloring and cutting her hair. He is trying to stay focused, but then after succumbing to the beckoning in her eyes, he drops the towel and dives on her lips to full abandon. Ahhhh…

A man and woman sit at a table in an upscale restaurant. They each have a cell phone to their ear. What are you overhearing? Tell me about this couple…..

They are both employed with high profile companies in New York City and even though it’s their anniversary, they are letting business cut into their pleasure. They agree to take the calls because they are both hopelessly addicted to work and feeling valued outside of the home. The sad thing is, they both understand that about each other so they let it continue to pull them apart.

Pick a "story starter" below and give us a sample of your voice.

A crack broke the stillness as Terry tugged on the frozen door.

Terry cringed. She’d tried so hard to not make a sound, even tiptoeing into the room barefoot just to make sure the floor wouldn’t squeak under the soles of her slippers. All she wanted was to snag the last of the chunky monkey ice cream without getting caught by her roommate. But there was no way that Jane could miss the sound of the suction breaking on the freezer door. It was louder than ripping open the Velcro flap of her lunch box, and Terry had busted her then, too. Ugh. Why had she agreed to that stupid diet challenge anyway? So what if she had aches and pains from carrying around extra weight?

Closing her eyes, she sighed and closed the door. She needed to lose weight and cheating in the middle of the night was not what she wanted for her life, nor was sneaking around. Why did it have to be so hard? She sat at the kitchen table, covered her face with her hands, and wept.

Lauren stared at the clock. Eleven forty-five, if only it read ten forty-five. Everyone should be allowed one do-over hour in life.

Everyone but her.

She glanced at the man in the bed beside her. She didn’t even know his name. How had her life gotten so out of control, so pathetic that she’d take anyone who came on to her home to her bed? Nausea crept up her throat like reflux and she reached for the pills on her night stand. Half a bottle of beer—though warm—stood beside it. She could down every last pill in the container and be dead before he woke up. But when he found her that way, would he even care? And if not, would it be worth doing?

With those thoughts on her mind, she released the bottle and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning she found a hundred dollar bill on the pillow beside her. She winced. Somewhere between the ages of 25 and 30, she’d become her mother.

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.

As I flipped through the clothing on the clearance rack, little fingers tugged on my skirt. “Mom, I need to go potty.”

Glancing down, I noticed my son half-dancing and squirming with his legs pressed together. What an adorable sight. So rather than making the poor child wait while I perused more undergarments, I ditched my search for a gag gift for my brother’s wedding.

A sigh escaped my lips as I clutched my little boy’s hand and walked toward the rest rooms. At least Joe had a wedding coming up. I had no prospects in sight.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Non-PETA Approved Plans

If you read my animal posts, you won't be at all disturbed by my new favorite picture from the latest e-mail forward. Those of you who have PETA on speed dial may want to stop reading NOW.

As for the picture, do I need to say anymore? Some sicko thinks a lot like me. And maybe all creatures great and small should be concerned.

Feral Will, not ever having been burritoed, but I think he might be sometime soon, has the best tail in the world. His black velvety glossy softness invites attention, but the tail commands it. Freckles has a spindly, whiplike cat tail. Feral's is a bottle brush. So when he's not trying to kill me, and is cuddly, I pet him and admire his glossy black fur and his whomping tail. I've corrupted a 14-year-old who hangs out over here every once in awhile. At first she gave me the look reserved for crazy people when I waxed eloquent about Feral's tail. Ha. Now she can't keep her hands off of him.

Heh. Heh. Heh. I know she'd help me get him into a burrito costume.

Jenny, I'll take a picture. And try to get Lily lounging in the bay window, too.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Serials and Scenarios ~ It's Not About Me

Michelle Sutton will be back with the Dregs on Friday. In the meantime, check out the first chapter of It's Not About Me and her website.

My Review:

It's Not About Me is a deeply character driven drama about choices and relationships. Teen girls will especially connect with Annie as she struggles with her feelings of attraction and her doubts, the pressures she faces, and a tragedy that changes her life. Secondary characters deal with heavy issues as well, and I'm glad to see that there will be a second story that looks deeper into the lives of Annie's friends.

Issues such as sexuality, alcohol and the differences between real faith and religion are covered in depth. Plenty of drama and twists to keep the pages turning,and loads of truth to keep the focus on hope and restoration rather than the ugliness of sin.

Overall, Michelle Sutton's freshman novel is solid and lays a foundation that will no doubt win some fans who love what she is serving up. I would recommend the book to older teen girls without reservation unless they are very sheltered. Younger teens would benefit from the decisions made by a couple of characters that demonstrate both good or bad consequences. The book offers some heavy make-out sessions and some violence so I would recommend that cautious parents read the book before turning a kid loose with it. However, compared to what's on television and the internet, this edgy-for-Christian-Fiction novel is tame and offers hopeful food for thought.