Friday, February 15, 2008


Allow me to introduce it to you: The Sigurd Journal is a new literary magazine, published quarterly. The first issue will be released shortly. Below is a link to its website, including submissions information.

Why do I care? Well, I know the publisher and the editorial staff. Each and every one of them. They're each talented writers in their own right and committed to publishing quality short fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. I expect good things from this journal. Check out the link and consider subscribing--it's only 5.00 for 4 issues. Can't beat that!

I do have a vested interest. I'm the columnist, so each issue will have my take on writing, life, and other oddities. Pretty cool, huh?

So subscribe. Or I might hurl my battleaxe :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I just had to share the fun new book I picked up yesterday. It was on the discount table at Barnes and Noble, titled BACK IN THE DAY: 101 Things Everyone Used to Know How to Do.

I ask you, how could I be expected to pass by a book that makes the following promise:

"In no time, you'll be able to fight with a rapier and dagger, thatch a roof, plow a field, wear a Roman toga, lay siege to a castle, pluck a chicken, hurl a battleax, make a fire without matches, and embalm a body."

Wow. How could I not buy it?

Excuse me for now. There are so many other things I could be doing: making mead, keeping wild bees, caring for a battle wound, making a Roman mosaic, forging a sword, or roasting a wild boar.

But I think I'll go hunt up my battleax first. I feel like hurling something.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Since my brain is now occupied with trivia like "What day is it today?", I'm finding I need prompts to help me post something new. Here are a few random questions I found floating around the blogosphere.


February 1998. Well, my one and only daughter was born in November 1998--count back 9 months--you get the idea. We lived in Seattle in our tiny but adorable first house. We had two sons, almost 5 and almost 2. My husband worked for Preston, Gates, and Ellis, a downtown law firm. And in the year ahead of us we would have our aforementioned daughter, change jobs, move states, live with my parents for 7 months, and build a new house. Whew. It's totally worth being 10 years older to not have to do any of that again.


1. Take my son to radiation

2. Laundry (always and every day)

3. Finish chapter 4 (writing, not reading)

4. Catch up on emails (always and every day)

5. Breathe


1. Diet Coke

2. Sleeping in

1. Buy a house along the Yorkshire coast

2. Buy a flat in London

3. Travel

4. Travel

5. And travel some more


1. Hagerstown, Maryland

2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

3. Seattle, Washington

4. Port-au-Prince, Haiti

5. Hong Kong


1. I hate to cook (okay, that's something all my friends know about me--this is for those of you reading who I'm still trying to impress)

2. I love listening to film scores (THE MISSION is my most recent purchase)

3. I have old Halloween candy under my bed

4. I never dated the first boy who kissed me (16--family friend visiting from across the country--very cute--late night talk in the kitchen--flew home the next day)

5. I wanted to be the first female Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Or a US senator.

Friday, February 08, 2008


TOUCH NOT THE CAT/Mary Stewart/B-: I finished this in the hospital that first week with Jacob. Pluses: it didn't require a great deal of mental attention. Minuses: definitely dated by its 1960s publication. Briony comes home to England after her father's death to deal with inheritance issues. She's also looking for the man she's been communicating with mentally since childhood. If a hospital stay is in your near future, this is an easy book to swallow.

ANIMALS IN TRANSLATION/Temple Grandin/B+: A fascinating book about animal brains, autistic human brains, and non-autistic human brains. Who knew a book about animals could teach me so much about how my own brain functions and why autistim produces the differences it does. It also has a chapter about rapist roosters that should be required reading for anyone who thinks genetic trait selection is a good idea for babies.

GIRL, INTERRUPTED/Susanna Kaysen/B+: I caught the tail end of this film (with Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie) on TV a few months ago. The book is the account of Kaysen's 18-month stay in an upscale Massachusetts asylum for the mentally ill. I didn't give it an A only because I would have liked more about her life after the asylum, thought that clearly wasn't the point of the story. The writing itself helps give us a sense of her fractured life at the time.

WILDWOOD DANCING/Juliet Marillier/A-: You all know I'm a huge fan of Marillier's historical fantasies. This is a YA book, set in Romania in roughly the Renaissance years. Five sisters have been crossing into the fairy kingdom once a month to dance. But now strangers have come to the kingdom, and trouble is threatening at home, and the sisters have to figure out how to save both worlds and stay together. I didnt' give it an A because, being written for a younger market, it's not as deep and layered as I like her books, but I still read it in just two days.

MAN'S SEARCH FOR MEANING/Victor Frankl/A-: The classic text about his years in concentration camps and how men and women choose to cope under such circumstances. I picked it up for obvious reasons (Jacob) and appreciated his stories about extraordinary people in extraordinary situations.

THE HARROWING/Alexandra Sokoloff/A-: A haunted house story, set on a college campus during Thanksgiving break. Five kids skip Thanksgiving and have the old dorm building to themselves. When they find and use an old ouija board, they release more than just a simple ghost. Her character development helps set this book apart from a normal horror story.

THE CHAMELEON'S SHADOW/Minette Walters/A: I don't think Walters has written a single book that I didn't love. This one isn't always easy, but it's gripping and real. When a British lieutenant is disfigured in Iraq, he shuts himself off from everyone around him, especially his former fiance. Then he's named a suspect in a string of killings in London and has to trust someone if he's going to save himself. Very powerful.

STILL LIFE/Louise Penny/A: Hooray! A first book in a series that I loved! Armand Gamache is an inspector in the Quebec police force. He's called to the small village of Three Pines to investigate the death of a local artist. It's a classic closed-circle mystery, where the reader gets to learn all about the villagers and their lives and secrets and try to figure out which secret led to her death. A fabulous traditional mystery that I adored.

NOTES ON A SCANDAL/Zoe Heller/A-: A book I picked up because I was intrigued by the movie trailers. Teacher Sheba Hart has been arrested for having an affair with one of her students. Fellow teacher and friend Barbara Covett tells the story from the beginning, revealing as much about herself as she does about Sheba. I don't think there was a single wholly likeable character in the book (except Sheba's Down Syndrome son), but Heller's writing and characterization are compelling. It's one of those stories that are messy and complicated and leave you with no black and white thoughts, just lots of questions.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I Need a New Challenge

Because my writing isn't going anywhere fast. It's meandering around in lots of interesting byways, but byways aren't going to sell me a manuscript :)

I know, I know, I have a sick child, I have other things on my mind. But here's the deal: I need to do this. What am I going to do until October, sit around and worry? That's a sure way to make me even older. There will be hours and days when Jacob will need me fully, but there are lots of hours and days where he's fine. I've never been the kind of mom to watch over every breath my children make, I'm not going to start now. Besides, he's at school right now. Watching his every breath is his teacher's job.

I'm crafting a challenge to get me through the second completed draft of Annest. Each weekday I will:

1. Write 750 new words


2. Revise 5 pages

I'll keep you posted once a week on how it's going.