Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zoinks to Zen!

Anybody else totally EXHAUSTED?

I love A to Z, really I do. But I think this year I maybe should have opted out... then again, how was I to know life would throw up a couple huge challenges? I KNEW I'd be prepping for a book release promotion, and THAT with A to Z was a lot already, but throw in a teen imitating a juvenile delinquent, a different teen turning into an ADULT and a death in the family and it just pretty much overwhelmed me. In fact I've been BAD on getting that book promo organized.

ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!!! Watch for The Begonia Bribe in your local bookstore!!!

I will remark more on the EVENT of A to Z in a couple days, but today just let me wipe my brow and share a few things that bring me Zen...

Books, endless books... (and art) (and old stuff)

A nice massage...

A beachy cocktail...

And because it is Z day...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Yak, Yak Yarn and YAHOO!

Whoa big fella.... These guys are enormous, eh? I wouldn't want to accidentally end up in front of one. Domestic yaks are smaller and less shaggy, but a wild male can weigh over a ton and be more than 6 ½ feet tall... that's a lot of yak! With both undercoat and over layer, they are happy to 40 below... better them than me, that's what I have to say about that.

And for your fun fact... YAK YARN!!! I have some knitting friends who might just have to add that to their list of media...

And finally... It's a BIG DAY for my buddy Tara—her first book release is TODAY:  If The Shoe Fits so I thought I'd through her a little party, with all the

and YIPEEs

such an event calls for.

You've worked hard, chica! Enjoy your big day and congratulations!!!!

And if I might trouble all of YOU... would you mind sharing a little love with her?


on Facebook

And add her book TO READ

at Goodreads

And if you want to buy the book:

Crimson Romance


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Xanthidae and X-ing it Off

This crab's name is Neville [source]
Xanthidae is a branch of the crab family...

And I'm a crab. Or rather a cancer, but I identify. They are strange and a little scary, crabs... what with the sideways motion and pinchy bits, but I think they are just misunderstood.

The zodiac gives two crabby metaphors that seem very fitting:  1)  they are crusty on the outside, but very soft inside... true. and 2) a crab will lose its arm clinging to a rock--it is that determined. But if it in fact DOES lose the arm, it is the rare creature that can grow a new one.  Those things are fitting for cancers...

Like this... only writing stuff... camping and painting? pshhhhh
X-ing it Off

What? I did X-files and Xenophile in past years, I gotta go somewhere...

But I DO love lists... and what I love about lists is they make me feel productive... you know how I feel productive?  By X-ing things off the damn list!?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wombats and Wibbly Wobbly Wonkiness

Once again... 'pologies for no authorness and speedy posting... Daughter is successfully adulted, but that meant family night, so I am in brief today... which is not to say I'm wearing briefs, as I don't really condone pantsiness, but nevermind...


I love these furry, gentle looking fellows, though you DO have to note the claws--I wouldn't want to cause one to panic. Still, they are ever-so-cute, and like many Australian cutenesses, they are marsupials. I wish people were marsupials--it would have made things so much easier...

Wibbly Wobbly Wonkiness

You know... mostly I haven't been a giant sci-fi nut... gadgets and gimmicks don't do it for me. As an adult I've grown into some of the medical or species/organism stuff. But one category I've ALWAYS loved is TIME TRAVEL. From the dark Terminator series to the old romantic 'Somewhere in Time'.  And my most recent love... I was a late-adopter, as nerdom goes, but I am NOW a dedicated WHOVIAN.

My favorite episode is probably BLINK. It's EVERYONE'S favorite. But there are tons of great ones. You really ALL should be devoted.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vicuña, Verbage and Verybusy


I know, right? They are smaller, elegant WILD llamas! They have amazing soft wool, but because they are wild and it grows slow, it is much harder to come by than llama or alpaca wool. These lovelies live in Argentina, Peru and Bolivia.


And by verbage, I don't just mean verbs... erm... I mean WORDS. I love words. Wordplay, wordliness (though not so much wordiness), I just LOVE words. I especially love really creative uses of words... making words up or altering form creatively--verbizing nouns and adjectiving verbs...

It's just how I roll...

And for the second time this month, I must beg off the author piece... I apologize, but we had some sad family news YESTERDAY:  My father-in-law passed, not unexpectedly, but still sadly. And TODAY is my daughter's 18th birthday (I can't believe I have a child who's an adult), so I have some heavy balancing going on off screen... (tomorrow might be a little off, too)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Umbrellabird, Underwear, and Uaro


I have a confession. I had to cheat to find my animal today. I feel pretty good that it took me until U and when I looked up U animals, I decided it really was not that shocking I'd had such troubles. The options were Uakari (a South American monkey), Uguisu (a small Asian bird), and the Umbrellabird (South American). I liked the others, but the Umbrella bird looked most interesting to me, so he won.


You DO understand that Underwear are really just small pants and I can't really condone them, yes? Say it with me: PANTS ARE EVIL! DOWN WITH PANTS!

*cough *

But there are two acceptable usages in my opinion...


shexy dahlink

Oh yeah...

Or, in the MANSE, which is my home thread at ABNA, we've determined that underwear may be used THIS way:

And that's enough silliness for TODAY.

Now for my U-Author... who is a bit too shy to wear panties on her head, but she is one of my ABNA buddies:

Ia Uaro and Sydney's Song

Olympic fever runs high in the Australian summer of 1999 and 17-year-old Sydney has caught it. Little does she know taking a holiday job in the beehive that is the Olympics' public-transport call centre will be life altering. Shaken by her parents’ divorce, the sheltered Aussie is further plagued by abusive callers, obnoxious government agencies, constrictive office rules, and liberated friends. She is trying to negotiate these challenges as her own personal Olympics when Pete finds her. Pete, Boston's former child prodigy whose soothing voice floats across her workstation, sees through Sydney's tough outer shell. Pete knows what it takes to present a dignified front when all you want to do is howl at the moon. Treating their friendship like an art, he invests time and creative effort to pull Sydney out of her despair.

Tragedy strikes when an accident leaves Pete with a major brain injury in a Boston hospital. Their families think Sydney is too young to cope with all the complications, but she doesn't agree. After all that he has done for her, Sydney refuses to leave Pete with people who view him only as an endless chore. Deferring her university studies, alone in a foreign land facing new trials, Sydney stays at his side—even when he doesn't recognise her.

Set in Sydney and Boston where heartbreaks are juxtaposed humour and based on true story and real events, this novel with an Australian accent also shows the world that living with disabilities does not prevent a person from attaining happiness.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tortoise, Toast Man and Talli

Look at this teeny tiny tortoise!!!

You know... I really identify with tortoises. Some astrology substitutes a tortoise for the crab in cancer, so maybe this is why. Tortoises go SLOW, but if you'll remember the tortoise and the hare... it is the tortoise who keeps going without getting distracted. This is a good thing. Tortoises ARE inclined to hide in their shells if they don't like what's going on, but that is sort of the way with writers, too, eh?

And then looking for images, I kept running across all these pics of this tortoise and this hippo that are best buds! Aren't they fabulous!?

Talk Talks to Toast Man (POWDERED Toast Man that is)

This is a bit of a coup on my part. Powdered Toastman is difficult to pin down (at least if you don't catch him by surprise, but I managed to get him to talk to me recently.

Tart: At what point did you learn you were a superhero? When you were a wee babe? Somewhere in the awkwardness of adolescence?

Toast: When I was about 5 and I farted cinnamon sugar.

Tart: Does being a superhero help you get chicks? By which I mean girls, because chicks in a literal sense, I'd imagine, you could just buy, and I can't help but think a superhero has no real advantage there...

Toast: I don't get any girls. Most girls aren't attracted to a guy with bread for a head unless they have a weird fetish.

Tart: And the name... Powdered Toast Man... were the other superhero names taken? Or is there something about your superpowers that makes this fitting?

Toast: You haven't seen my youtube video? If you need some powdered sugar on your toast, I will be there.

Tart: And is there a romantic counterpart to Powdered Toast Man? A Lois Lane to your Superman? Do your superhero abilities help you do anything kinky?

Toast: Why do you ask? Do you want to be Mrs. Powdered Toast Man? I can get very kinky but I've been told that this is a family show so I can't share. Stop by my house if you want to know the details.

Tart: As a representative of toast, tell me... which do you prefer to be covered in: butter, jam or peanutbutter?

Toast: Jam is too sticky. Peanut butter actually gives my skin a nice shine. Strangley enough I am allergic to butter.

Tart: I notice you made some guest appearances on Ren and Stimpy back in the day. Do they still pay you royalties when those come on the air? If so, what have you done with that income over the years?

Toast: I was actually quite drunk when I signed that contract so I screwed myself out of any royalties. Ren does give me 10% of his drug dealings though so that's good.

Tart: Do they ever talk about casting you for a movie with real people? Who would play you?

Toast: There was talk about 10 years ago about possibly doing a movie but I haven't heard any since then. I would want Dustin Diamond to play me, I'm sure he needs the work.

Tart: Do you have any embarrassing habits you'd be willing to share?

Toast: I still suck my thumb occasionally but only when I'm nervous or horny.

Well there you have it!  You saw it HERE! 

And finally... I MISS TALLI ROLAND!


She's had a busy year, being a new mom and all, and I've had a busy year being overwhelmed, but I was glad for this chance to look in on what she's up to.

I decided to feature The Pollyanna Plan, as it came out last June, about the time I got overwhelmed, so I hadn't given it a proper perusal...

Blurb: Thirty-something Emma Beckett has always looked down on 'the glass is half full' optimists, believing it's better to be realistic than delusional. But when she loses her high-powered job and fiancé in the same week, even Emma has difficulty keeping calm and carrying on. 

With her world spinning out of control and bolstered by a challenge from her best friend, Emma makes a radical decision. From here on in, she'll behave like Pollyanna: attempting to always see the upside, no matter how dire the situation.

Can adopting a positive attitude give Emma the courage to build a new life, or is finding the good in everything a very bad idea?

(Love the sound of this! I tend to be a bit of a starry-eyed optimist, so I am all for everybody giving it a whirl)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Squirrels, Song and Smith's Shoes


Squirrels may be very commonplace, but they still make me happy. Michigan squirrels are quite fat. I think it is the 'in case it's a bad winter' thing. Squirrels in places with mostly mild winters don't need to store enough fat to survive a long spell with nothing to eat, but here they are mostly pretty good sized. The Red Fox Squirrels are most common. Like this little fellow here.

Song of Ice and Fire

OH, to be obsessed... SERIOUSLY obsessed. I love when literature mercilessly does this to me. I think about this world and these characters ALL the time... I want to talk to like-minded others about them... I submitted to the more expensive cable for it... Anybody who knows how cheap I am knows this is a very big deal.

The Starks are OF COURSE my favorite, my VERY most favorite being Arya, whose journey is fascinating, terrifying and amazing. But Martin does an amazing job ESPECIALLY of writing PoV characters who are NOT the heroes—of infusing delusion so even as the reader knows it for what it is, it's clear the character doesn't get it. It's some seriously brilliant writing.

I especially love, that on the re-read, I am spotting all this support for favorite theories. There is symbolism, symmetry, foreshadowing... Just freaking AMAZING.

And... ONE WEEK, until my buddy and fellow Burrower Tara (aka: Amber T Smith) Releases 
If the Shoe Fits

The blurb: There’s nothing wrong with Ella Gibson’s life— it just isn’t very exciting, despite being surrounded by lingerie. Working for Cardiff’s top modelling agency should have been glamorous, but most of the time Ella is running around with memos and cups of coffee. It’s a far cry from living the dream, but skirting the edge of her fantasy life is enough.

Then comes the day when her cat starts to talk, claiming to be Ella’s fairy godmother. As if that weren’t crazy enough, the pesky puss becomes a fashion advisor and behavioral expert, too. Add an evil ex-stepmother, a hunk called Charming, plus a looming party-cum-ball, and you have all the elements of a classical fairy tale. There's even a couple of ugly sisters—the fact that they are two gorgeous gay men being neither here nor there.

Ella’s not your typical fairy-tale princess though, and it will take more than a discarded glass slipper to get her man. It’s quite possible she may have to curb her enthusiasm for cursing a wee bit, not to mention her love of vodka. And can Muse, her surprisingly straight-laced feline friend, overcome her prudishness long enough for Ella to sneak a kiss or three with her intended beau?

My Review:
I had the good fortune to be a pre-release reader on this book. This fun twist on the Cinderella tale was just right for my slightly twisted sense of humor. It was laugh-out-loud funny, and I gave it the full five snorts on the laugh-o-meter.

Ella is a common receptionist for a lingerie company with a penchant for swearing and underwear mishaps, but she is good-hearted and easy to like--just ask her sisters--a pair of gay male models who double as her best friends.

Enter Muse... a cat... and a new sort of Furry Godmother... Muse has decided Ella needs a little bit of a makeover if she is ever to catch a suitable match. A manners makeover, in addition to the other sort. The Cat's prudery, the 'sister's' helping on this makeover project... it all is just REALLY fun and hysterically funny.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rabbits, Rascals and Reich


They're just LITTLE rabbits!
My friend Stephen mercilessly posts the CUTEST baby animal pics on FB every day, and OFTEN he has a rabbit theme. I've called him a marshmallow, but still he continues.

And it's Saturday... we need a break, so I thought a photostream of some of my favorite Rascals would do the trick:

Oh, Rhett...

See how he's undressing you? Even from the computer screen...


You can SEE what he's thinking... and it's NAUGHTY...

And my FAVORITE...

I aim to misbehave *swoon* No sexier words

Cherie Reich's Nightmare Collection

Blurb: A child monster will get its first taste of blood in Nightmare at the Freak Show. Four friends will enter the forest one December night, but only one can survive in Once Upon a December Nightmare. Almost ten years after Cassie's December nightmare, the monster awakens to hunt again in Nightmare Ever After.

The pieces:

Once Upon a December Nightmare:
But their plans go astray, and friends Cassie, Mary, Denise, and James decide to take a detour down a lonely mountain road. A felled tree blocks their passage and forces them to turn around in a clearing containing a disturbing arrangement of four deer carcasses.​

Then their truck breaks down, and their cell phones don't work. They must brave the cold December air, nightfall, and a long hike. Yet their troubles are just beginning. Tension runs high between the four young friends…and they are not alone. Each step brings them closer to safety, but will they make it to the main road alive?​

Includes the monster's origin story "Nightmare at the Freak Show."

and Nightmare Ever After

Almost ten years have passed since that fateful December night.

But the monster is hungry again.

As the killings start again in New Haven, Virginia, FBI Agent Timothy “Tim” O’Conner sends for the lone survivor from the ’02 murders to help him catch a killer. Cassie Richards wants nothing to do with the monster that killed her friends or the agent’s investigation, but she can’t forget the night that has haunted her nightmares. She returns to Virginia in search for closure, but will she be able to catch and kill a legend in time?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Quail, Quibbler, and Quinn


One of my very favorite birds is the quail. You know why? It's the head bobbles.

But MAN, could you imagine HAVING one of those bobbles? I'd constantly be jerking my head because I'd think I saw something out of the corner of my eye... yet no. It's the bobble. Still, they are darned cute.

The Quibbler

I wish I knew how to make a bunch of sappy hearts here. The Quibbler represents so many things I love...

* Belief in the absurd in spite of lack of evidence
* Doing what's right even in the face of danger
* Starry-eyed, delusional open mindedness...
* LUNA (she is one of my VERY favorite characters)
* My HPANA days. I was actually a part of a thread that was SO prolific that once a month we'd publish a 'Quibbler' to summarize our theories (both the real and the delusional). MAN, it was fun to be that immersed in a Fandom...

Quinn Review: Or rather, my review for Delirium

For a plot reminder, Lirium is a 'debt collector'. In a rather ugly future, when the years of life a person has left fall below the monetary value of what they 'owe' then they're, for want of a better word, 'exchanged'--the life is sucked out of them and their debts canceled... Nice and elegant. But what happens to the life collected? That life force is then given to some vastly productive person—a brilliant or talented person who will undoubtedly do society better than the people forced into collection.

My review:

This future world is cold and cruel... but Lirium doesn't seem to quite grasp that, initially. He is smart, but he is also doing something dark and miserable, so it is better to keep the blinders on. The author does a great job painting it--the necessary coping mechanisms for the job he has to do, the way nobody will look at him. The hints without ever saying it about the vast disparity being created in the world between people who are gifted in some way, and those who are not--a disparity that literally sucks life from one sort and gives it to the other. It's excellently crafted. This was my first test of an 'episodic' story, too, and I think it does well with giving an arc of the story that leaves me wanting to know what else is going to happen. I am definitely eagerly awaiting more.

And I promise to get back to getting around today... I had hella work stuffs mid week, so had a couple days I was awful, but back to it!!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Penguins, Play, and Pology...

I'm a little burnt out. It isn't all A to Z, though I'd be lying if I didn't confess that was part of it, so I pologize for not rounding up a P author, but all the ones I ran across had already been covered on their OTHER name day...

Precious Penguins

My buddy Stacy is an ice skating coach, so when I hear about penguins, I ALWAYS think of her. But penguins are ALSO one of the most fun exhibits at the zoo (and the polor bears! And the otters!... yes, I know that doesn't start with P) Pretty much though, the animals that play in the water are coolest because they really DO PLAY...

I mean seriously... they've set up a sledding hill...


You may have notice in my intro that that is what usually goes on around here. I mean sure... I am supposed to be a professional, but isn't the profession of WRITING to make people curious enough about us to check out our stuff? And don't I qualify as a curiosity? Anyway, I figure there are LOTS of talented, helpful people out there, and they are probably far more equipped to offer you sage advice on most topic. But I figure I am silly better than a good 90% of them, so why not work it. Lets just have fun!

So go forth and PLAY my friends!  (and again, pology for no book or author... I just didn't have it in me--need more PLAY and less work)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Owls, Out of the Ordinary, and Offutt's Oculus


I love owls. I don't actually SEE them very often... in fact hardly ever. But for about 7 months of the year, they accompany my walk to work in the morning as they hoot to each other. It's just such a friendly sound. It probably helps that I associate the sound with warm weather...

And when you DO see them, they're SO CUTE!

I admit it. I like this look.
Out of the Ordinary

I spent my formative years trying to pretend I fit in. I was too tall. I was somewhat shy (not one on one, so much, but in a group), my TASTES would fit better in... say Chinatown than anyplace considered 'classy'--which was all well and good in the 70s, but not so much other than that. I like bright colors, shiny things, big jewelry... my husband sometimes tells me I dress like a clown right before the book hits him in the head.

See... I just don't BUY other people's definition of 'nice'. I by FAR prefer FUN.

In college I finally embraced my inner freak. I went to a place it was 'cool to be a rebel'... in fact it was SO 'cool to be a rebel' that I rebelled from THAT by joining a sorority... rebelling against rebellion... erm... it makes sense on some level.

The fact of the matter is, I've tried on the mold, and I just don't fit. So I've embraced not even approving of the mold. It's moldy. Ick. If I had money, I'd be eccentric. As it is, I'm just a little odd.

Michael Offutt and Oculus!

Michael is one of my blogger buddies, and of all the strange things, has actually lived in my hometown (he went to college there). This is Michael's second book in the Crisis of Two Worlds series (Slipstream is first). Here is what it's all about:

Autumn has arrived in New York, and Jordan Pendragon attends his first classes as a freshman at Cornell. Born with a brilliant mathematical mind, he balances life as a research assistant with that of a student athlete.

But Jordan also has a quest. He must find the Black Tower, a monolithic edifice housing a thing that defines the very structure of the universe. Jordan believes it is buried somewhere in Antarctica under miles of prehistoric ice.

And see, I just wonder if Michael was ever tempted to yell 'Oculus Reparo' when he was editing... Probably just me...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Newts, Naked World Domination and Nick Polotta

Isn't he cute!?
Newts are Neat

They are cute little salamandery things, but there is something precious added just with the name... and something comedic, too. Take, for instance, “She turned me into a newt!......... I got better.” Or Willow's indignant defense of salamander eyes instead of newt eyes (because of course newts are the tradition—she calls it prejudice). But the idea of a lot of blind newts is sort of sad...

I promise not to  make you be this orderly.
Nudists Should Rule The World!!!

You may wonder why, if you're a bit dim or have lived a sheltered life herded by prudes, but it's really fairly simple. Naked people are nicer. It is really hard to be mean and rotten when your vulnerable bits are all out in the open. Plus, everyone is MUCH more comfortable naked (provided you don't make the mistake of vinyl seating).

So as a public service, I am leading the Naked World Domination Movement. You're welcome.

Nick Pollotta

One of my writer friends passed away this week after a battle with cancer. He was brave and shared his journey, but sadly, he didn't beat the disease. His work was a humorous strain of Sci-fi and Fantasy, so today I'm featuring this one:

That Darn Squid God

In the year 1881, the moon suddenly begins to turn around and reveal its long-hidden darker side to the startled world. While most of Humanity finds the event fascinating, two British explorers know the horrible truth. The rotating moon is the legendary sign that foreshadows the return of a prehistoric demon, the monstrous destroyer of Atlantis, an unkillable colossus known only as the deadly, dreaded Squid God. Racing around the world, and against the clock, Prof. Einstein and Lord Carstairs battle the fanatical legions of Squid God worshippers in a valiant effort to stop the ghastly rebirthing ceremony and keep the demonic mollusk locked in the stygian depths of its unearthly lair. Authors Nick Pollotta & James Clay have lovingly crafted a splendid Fantasy/Adventure, heavily laced with their classic off-the-wall humor, and sprinkled with a light dusting of parody toward the legendary works of H.P. Lovecraft, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and just about everything else from the golden glory days of Victorian England.

You will be missed, Nick!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Manatee, Monty and Milchman

Look how nice they look!
Manatees are so cool. They just chill, being all groovy...

I'd so love to swim with them.

Magical Monty Python

Anyone who knows Monty Python pretty well and sees my self-appointed title (Watery Tart) knows I'm a fan. Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail is my favorite movie EVER and Life of Brian is a very close second. But just LOOK at these nuts. Can you think of people it would be more fun to hang out with? Because I just can't. Michael Palin has always been my favorite, though I love all of them in most of their forms. They just really are the best possible argument for always being as silly as possible. Life is just more fun that way.

Here are a few of my favorite clips:

The one my name comes from
The French Taunting
The Romanian Grammar Police
Spank Me!
Knights Who Say Ni!
What Have the Romans Done For Us?

Jenny Milchman and Cover of Snow

The next book in my TBR pile is one I am VERY excited to get to. Jenny came through Ann Arbor recently—her family is going a real live drive-all-over book tour. She is one of my ABNA buddies and is FANTASTICALLY supportive of her fellow writers. Here is the blurb for her book:

Waking up one wintry morning in her old farmhouse nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Nora Hamilton instantly knows that something is wrong. When her fog of sleep clears, she finds her world is suddenly, irretrievably shattered: Her husband, Brendan, has committed suicide.

The first few hours following Nora’s devastating discovery pass for her in a blur of numbness and disbelief. Then, a disturbing awareness slowly settles in: Brendan left no note and gave no indication that he was contemplating taking his own life. Why would a rock-solid police officer with unwavering affection for his wife, job, and quaint hometown suddenly choose to end it all? Having spent a lifetime avoiding hard truths, Nora must now start facing them.

Unraveling her late husband’s final days, Nora searches for an explanation—but finds a bewildering resistance from Brendan’s best friend and partner, his fellow police officers, and his brittle mother. It quickly becomes clear to Nora that she is asking questions no one wants to answer. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies a powerful conspiracy that will stop at nothing to keep its presence unknown . . . and its darkest secrets hidden.