Monday, December 8, 2008

Czarina’s Christmas Rules

Where you going with the gun Deb?

Across the street.

Why do you need a gun to go across the street?

Shoot out the blue Christmas lights.

Only the blue lights offend your sensibilities?

Yes. Obviously they didn't read the memo. One must only use white lights for display outside of the house.

Miss Scrooge, what happens if someone puts out multicolor?

Rules. One must follow the Czarina's Christmas Rules. Only white lights for display. Simple, perfect, pure white light. (Pacing Now) If you absolutely must be a non conformist and use a colored light then those lights can only be multicolored strings. NO all red, NO all green, and especially NO NO blue lights. Rules.

Dare I ask what happens to the offender who puts out multicolor and white lights in the same display?

Their plug is pulled. Permanently.

What about those plastic Toy Soldiers, Santas, and Reindeer exhibits? Or those lighted balls in the trees? Better yet what happens to the violator who plays soothing Christmas carols for all to enjoy as they drive past your house to view the Christmas holiday array?


Who you calling?

The Marine forward air controller. I'm ordering a laser guided smart bomb.

Easy Babe. Deep Zen breathes, honey. Put the phone down. I'll trade you, a valium for the pistol.

Your an elf. A CIA-Santa planted happy Christmas Elf.

Easy babe, it's only a few more weeks and it'll all be over. Here's a martini to chase the valium. Don't worry I've got plenty of gin.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


My niece was complaining about school the other day. They had been “forced” to read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

Had I read it? Yes.

Did I like it? Yes.

Did I EVER learn anything worthwhile in seventh grade? Well, I had to confess yes I did.

I read Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes when I was in Junior High School. At thirteen I didn’t care if the novel had won the Newberry Award in 1944. Nor did I give a hoot that Johnny was involved in the Revolutionary War. Worse of all it was a guy book. I complained bitterly to anyone who would listen that my seventh grade teacher Mr. Nolan was a liar. He had promised the story was exciting, a great adventure, and we’d love it.


At age thirteen I loved gothic novels (aka romance reader.) I slugged through Johnny’s adventure kicking, screaming and whining until I got to the description of bundling. I read with delight and desire the detailed description of the colonial courting ritual about BUNDLING. Parents who wrapped each adolescent in a different blanket. Parents who then put them both in the same bed, so they might talk through the night. My heart was racing, my hands were sweating and I reread that particular passage until the print began to smudge. How cool were revolutionary parents?

Woo Hoo! What a great idea. A blanket, my boyfriend, and a bed and we got to talk all night. Oh yeah. My hormones were in overdrive. I was ready to go and put this old ritual into modern practice. I even had new pajamas.

There was however, a fly in the proverbial ointment, MY parents. They knew me too well. NO blankets if a boy was involved. And OH HELL NO, I was getting within sight of a bed if there was a guy in the house.

Well Esther made me appreciate history that year and I'll give props to Mr. Nolan for having us read the book. My niece hasn't been seen for days. She's looking through all my book boxes for the my well worn copy of Johnny Tremain.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I'm a lucky gal. I've got friends on both sides of the aisle so to speak. Although we may not always agree on a topic, we always agree on our friendships. A rare and precious commodity I cherish more as I get older.

We've argued over politics, teased about politics, and agreed on politics. Although I have said very little on this blog about the election, I've found myself smiling and invigorated over Obama's campaign. I haven't felt this way since Robert Kennedy. The mood at Obama Headquarters in Indianapolis was light, bright, and party-like. (Dare I say hopeful.)

I've got a special Republican Friend who is all sunshine and light, at least she's practicing long deep chi breaths since election night. She even grinned when I told her I would miss President George Bush like an abscessed tooth. It's good to be able to disagree and still be friends. I miss her dearly, especially our bi-weekly lunches at Panera. So in honor of her new light and sunshine here's a special video to help her reach her zenith.

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Friday, November 7, 2008


I'm bleary-eyed today because I spent most of the night reading The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen. I know better than to start her books at bedtime, I rarely can put them down until I've completed the entire novel.

I marvel at her writing. She is one of the few authors whose characterization doesn't suffer from a swift pace. Tess also has the ability to take a well traversed subject such as stalking, and explore it from a new perspective. I know, I'm gushing, but I enjoy a well written novel.

The Keepsake revolves around a forgotten mummy is rediscovered in a museum basement. Dr. Isles determines that the century old relic however is rather a modern day murder. While following the numerous plot twists, I'm was delighted Gerritsen provides me with medical insight without beating me over the head with 'geek-speak' which often distracts me from the mystery. Like I said earlier there's not much about her writing I don't like. So whose writing skills do you wish would magically materialize inside your brain? Now, just to wait patiently for the next episode in the series.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Milo Ventimiglia is my new pass. I'm sure you've all played this game. If you actually met the guy and clicked, your thoughtful significant other would give you a pass on this one time slip into infidelity. The big part of the game is you must announce far in advance your prey, I mean pass. Over the years my pass has changed and I make sure my husband stays up on my ever changing potential pass victims. (Can we say fickle?) His response is to rolls his eyes, mumbled a threat, and then return to his crossword puzzle. He knows I'm just like Jimmy Carter and only lust from afar. The mumbled threat is just in case I actually would catch my prey. Anyway back to Milo.

I recorded season three of Heroes, unfortunately I'm just now getting around to watching them. (I told you I'd been busy.) The first two seasons I had no lust in my heart for Milo, but wow give a man a scar and I find him intriguing. My curious mind wants to know how he got scared. The scar hints he might be a bad boy and goodness knows women love their bad boys. Season three is great compared to the previous two seasons. Now if they would just get rid of the character Skylar, and Milo's character Peter is just the one to do it.

So in the spirit of Halloween I've stalked my prey and laid him out for all to view. No touching. I'm not through playing with him. So who are you stalking? Whose you're prey? Let me know.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Update: Sorry for the lengthy period of no blogging. My mother fell ill and it's been a very long 8 weeks of recovery for her as well as for me. I'm back in the saddle again expect my weekly posts.

I was able to attend Baltimore Bouchercon this year and had a chance to talk and spend time with some of my favorite authors. John Connolly falls into that category. I adore his Charlie Parker detective series. It's traditional PI series with just a smoky wisp of the supernatural. I've always wondered about the back stories for Louis and Angel two prominent secondary characters in the series and this novel answers those questions.

The Reapers, provides Louis back story as the premise of the novel. Louis is one of the reapers, assassins, who shall not be named, for fear they will materialize in front of you and preform their magic. Someone is hunting and targeting Louis's friends and businesses. Louis past is so traumatic, and the sins of his past now require retribution. Angel, Charlie and the rest of his friends try to help but the story can end in only one way, Louis provides the redemption with more violence.

Connolly's prose is lyrically. His characterizations of Louis and Angel transfix the reader and make it impossible to put the book down. His plotting can be predictable at times, but his pacing and characterizations are so strong you don't mind the plotting. All Connolly's novels provide an unflinching look at the horrors which dwell in quiet unexpected places.

It was a great thrill to spend time talking with him at Bouchercon. He's funny and charming, plus he writes and speaks like poet and he's easy on the eyes.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Occasionally I get in a murderous mood. What’s a girl to do if she can’t kill someone every now and then?

If I’m being lazy, I’ll beg the hubby to take me to watch Jason Statham, Sam Jackson, or Frank Miller movies. These guys use some imagination. The stars don’t just shoot their enemies. Oh No. I can watch them beat a foe to a pulp for three minutes then they shoot them. Like I said you have to be in the mood.

Surprisingly, I love gallows humor. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming.) A friend recommended Duane Swierczynski, two novels, The Wheelman and Severance Package.

I picked up Wheelman at the library and over lunch I browsed the first few chapters. I couldn’t put it down it had more plot twists than a slinky. I stayed up until the wee hours to finish it. The gritty dialogue was sparse and kept the pacing suspenseful. I was scared to turn the page for fear what next would befalls the protagonist Lennon. Talk about a lousy couple of days. Geez, I never want to be friends with the likes of Lennon, but I sure enjoyed the vicarious ride. This is the best bank heist book I've read.

Impressed with the Wheelman I grabbed Severance Package, got a beer and fell into my reading chair. Think film noir meets TV's The Office, with a healthy dose of superfluous bedlam. The plot requires one to suspend disbelief, but it's over-the-top funny. Talk about taking fluid rounds (after-work drinking) a step to far, Duane does it with great style. I wonder if he'll be at B'Con 2008 and can I buy him a brew?

Duane's novels have the feel of graphic comic-book novels.(They should since he also writes the Marvel Series Cable). If you enjoy gratuitous violence, outrageous plot twists, and need to blow off some vicarious steam towards the boss. Then Severance Package is your book. If you can find humor in the telling of how someone stepped on their own foot and broke it, then you'll laugh all the way through this one.

If your in the mood, like noir, well here's two fine books. Look out Ken Bruen and Victor Gischler because Duane's breathing down your neck.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Lee Driver's Chase Dagger series is a must for us cross-genre junkies. She straddles the genres with a foot firmly planted in mystery, yet comfortable with the other entrenched in fantasy. Her novels always make a fantastic read and appeal to both groups. Her skill at plotting keeps the twists and turns coming, but not at the expense of characterization. I always clear time when I pick up her books, knowing once I start I won't stop until I reach the end.

Chasing Ghosts explores Dagger's past and the shadow company BettaTec that has been hinted at in previous novels. Also Chase realizes (about time) that he's in love with Sara. A fun visit with the pair who finally sync their working relationship. And a hilarious longer look at the secondary cast members. My favorite is Skizzy, the brilliant techno-nerd. who is hanging by his fingernails on the mental health floor. Although I wanted to smack him about half way through for continuously calling Sara "girly". Except for that quibble it was a pleasurable romp of a ride. As always I'm left wanting more of Chase and Sara.

Lee Driver also writes as S.D.Tooley

Monday, August 25, 2008

Killing Ideas

Where do we get our ideas? This is the number one question asked of an author at one time or another. The answer is everywhere, while doing the most mundane things.

Yesterday my husband, whose dedicated to getting me ready for our bicycle ride vacation, dragged me out of bed at the ungodly hour of eight am for a short twelve mile ride on Fall Creek Greenery Trail.

The trail lives up to its name. Lots of shade trees, birds and insects for soothing background noise, and of course Fall Creek. On the plus side there are very few other idiots exercising in this early morning.

Did I mention I hate to change my routine? My idea of a perfect Sunday is to venture out at noon, an appropriate hour, after a leisurely cup of coffee, yogurt and the morning paper.

Back to the story, still sleepy, I pedal at a moderate pace. Twenty yards in front of me is some middle-age guy, holding a cell phone to his ear hogging the middle of the bike path.

Normally one says something to the effect of passing on your left, or ringing their bell and the other person moves over. Not this guy. He keeps talking and riding in the middle.

He’s now officially irritated me in so many ways and we haven’t met. Doesn’t take much to twist my knickers in a knot does it? First, he isn’t wearing a helmet. What if he falls, cracks his head, and has to be treated? Does he have insurance? Probably not, even if he does he’s stupid for not wearing a helmet. It’s those kind of accidents that makes everyone’s premiums go up. Not a very good citizen.

Second, pick a side of the pathway to ride on, preferable the right. Basic rules of the road follow them. This guy is riding on the edge of the good citizen envelope and is about to fall off.

Third, hells bells get that cell phone out of your ear, put both hands on the handlebar and pay attention. Why would somebody want to exercise and talk on the phone at this hour?

Did I mention he was a middle age man? The only logical reason I can come up with is he’s cheating on his wife and calling his girlfriend. What a lout.

That’s it; he’s fallen over the line. My Jack Reacher-essence has bubbled to the top. He’s using too much air, he’s got to die.

So I tell my retired cop husband, I think I need to kill this guy.
He humors me and plays along? Wants to know what I’m going to use for the murder weapon.

Simple, I ride right up next to him and shoot him with my 38 snub nose revolver.

Hubby always ruins my plans. Your 38 don’t have a silencer, nor do I have a plastic water bottle to improvise needed silencer. Besides, he reminds me, the next mile is sunny and he’ll see the shadow from raising my gun hand.

Okay, I’ll wait till we get to a shaded area and then shoot him. Everyone will think it’s a car backfiring.

Now he reminds me I’m a klutz, can’t ride, aim and shot straight. Further he adds salt to the wound by informing me I would actually need to be slightly ahead of him so I don’t get any blood splatter. And how I’m I going to do that when I can’t get the guy to move over?

Why am I still married to this guy who takes all the fun out of my morning project? At this point my cranky pants hubby puts some bass in his voice and says “passing on the left”. The guy pulls over to the right, unbelievable.

Next Sunday, I’m coming prepared.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I love it when I find a new author, so I'm blogging today about my discovery. Only wish I would of found her sooner.

Bitten is a fine debut. Kelley Armstrong writing is imaginative and extremely descriptive. Her book is urban fantasy, with a touch of mystery and romance.

Elena Michaels, the protagonist, is the only female werewolf in her pack. She deplores the urgings of her wild side and is trying to be a typical strong modern women living apart from her pack. Obviously it's not working, she must return to her pack which comes under siege by outside werewolves(mutts). AT this point the race is on to the end of the novel. Quite the page turner once I got past the initial third of the book.

My big quibble was the amount of back story in the beginning of the book. The narrative slowed the story to the point I laid the book aside several times. Her descriptions of transforming into a wolf and hunting however drew me back in. The last half of the book was well plotted and paced even though the ending was somewhat predictable.

I don't usually believe the blurbs on the back of a novel, but this time the claim she does for werewolves what Anne Rice did for vampires is correct. I'm sure to read her next entry in her Women of the Otherworld series.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Charlaine Harris is one of my favorite authors. It doesn’t hurt that she’s a hoot when you hear her speak at public forums. A perfect day for me, a glass of sun tea, my favorite reading chair, and a Sookie Stackhouse novel. It just doesn’t get any better. Her characters are well written, converse in snappy dialogue, and pleasingly plotted. Yes I’m a fan.

I’ve eagerly watched HBO ramp up their promotions for the fall series True Blood. The series is based on Charlaine’s heroine. Sookie Stackhouse, who is a telepathic Louisiana barmaid and a friend to vampires, werewolves, and various other odd creatures. I’ve got my finger’s crossed they stay true to the essence of the character’s Charlaine has created.

The sequence started with Dead Until Dark and her latest addition is Dead as a Doornail. Her series is considered Urban Fantasy. I prefer the term, cross genre, a mix of mystery and sci-fi. Both good reasons to check out the new series this fall on HBO.
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