Monthly Archives: April 2007

M/M Monday…The Last King of Scotland

Movie:  The Last King of Scotland (2006)…  I LOVE Forest Whitaker, and my hubby is a serious history buff, so anything that combines the two is usually a no-brainer in my house.  Usually.  I have to say, while Whitaker’s portrayal of Idi Amin was fabulous, and definitely deserving of the Oscar, the movie itself left something to be desired. 

The story centers around a Scottish physician who catches Amin’s eye and becomes his personal physician.  Basically this guy gets to live the good life, one that was a bit appalling to me, to be quite honest.  He seemed to have no real morals.  Passion and a bit of conviction, yes, but when it came to keeping Mr. Winky in his pants…not so much.  August and I spent the whole movie believing this guy was a real person, but when I did a search on the net the next day, I found it was a fictionalization.  That relieved me in one way (this guy was a serious prick) and pissed me off in another, since it was billed as “based on actual historical events”.  Those events being a seriously light overview on Amin’s tyrannical hold over Uganda. 

This movie could have been SO much better if it had focused on Amin and his multiple faces.  Yeah, we saw vignettes of them throughout the flick, but I cared much more about what was going on with him than the “hero.” 

If you’d like to see Whitaker shine, then definitely RENT this one, but focus on him, rather than the hero.

Freaky Location Friday…Rome

So if you read my last post, you know that we arrived in Rome pleasantly buzzed and ready to see the sights. 

We got off the train and decided to do the same thing we had in Venice…troll the train station for hoteliers trying to get rid of the last of their rooms.  We finally settled on a hotel set in between the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps because they told us we could stay for several days AND they had a laundry service (at this point, something we desperately needed).  Then we ventured out of the train station…and into the CRAZIEST set of driver’s I’ve ever seen in my life.

There are NO traffic lanes in Rome.  Sure, there are lines painted on the street, but no on actually uses them as a guide.  It’s freakin’ insanity of the highest order.  I think I counted nine separate “rows” of traffic as I vised onto the oh-shit handle in the taxi…on a street that was only supposed to accomodate four.  Think I aged about 10 years on that day, and August did too.

So we reach our hotel and head down to get a quick bite at the trattoria on the street level, then go back upstairs to crash so we’ll be well-rested for our explorations in the morning.  Roman rooms are VERY different than Venetian ones.  In Venice we had plenty of room to move around, position our stuff…that sort of thing.  Not so much in Rome.  There was about three feet of open space around the perimiter of the bed, an all-in-one bathroom (you can shower, shit and shave without ever moving a muscle), and a closet, which in addition to being a clothes repository, was also where our 13″ television was housed.  Seriously.  August and I are big people (he’s 6’3″ and I’m 6′), so it was a bit entertaining shoehorning into everything, but hey, we’re in ROME…let’s have a great time.

The next day I woke up feeling like utter crap (too many climate changes, I think), so August went downstairs to drop off our cleaning and grab some breakfast.  Small problem…they wouldn’t take our clothes.  And why????  Because they were freakin’ evicting us that morning.  I shit you not.  When we protested that we’d been promised a minimum of two nights, the dude just shrugged his shoulders and basically told us to get out.  When August asked (very politely, I might add, given the circumstances) if there was another hotel they could recommend, we got the “what do we look like, a travel agency?” attitude.  (Keep in mind we’d just shelled out well over $200 for about 8 hours of using the 80 square foot room.)  At that point, I was sick, and both of us were thoroughly disgusted.  We decided then and there that we were going back to Germany…screw Italy.  So we packed up our stuff (dirty clothes and all) and called a cab.

I’m sad to say that all we really got to see of Rome was from the back of a taxi.  At some point, I’d love to go back and see some of what we missed…and maybe do it with a tour company!

Next week, our experiences in Innsbruck (both on the way to Italy and our return)

Okay, I know I’ve been *ahem* altered, before…

but this really takes the cake.  Seriously, the dude was obviously sober enough to crawl up on the horse’s back and ride away from wherever he and his bud were partying.  What, on God’s green earth, would make you get back down?

But the biggest question looming in my puny little brain is…who in the heck rides his HORSE to go drinking?

Wait, on second thought, maybe that’s not such a bad idea…no DUIs!!

What’s Going on With Me Wednesday…

I had an excellent writing week even though I only truly wrote for two days…I got a grand total of 6100 words done, and I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve written.  It needs a bit of fleshing out, yeah, but that’ll only add to my word count in the end when I do my rewrites.  Right now it’s mostly action, which is good *g*, because I’d rather beef that up with a bit of description and emotion, than try to action up a sluggish set of scenes. 

On that note, I’m stealing Rachel’s progress meter, and I’ll update it each day as I write!

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

58,089 / 95,000
(61.1%)

We had an awesome OK-RWA meeting last Saturday, meeting with a bunch of librarians and booksellers.  My publicist Sherry pimped me out at every opportunity, so here’s to hoping I get a few nibbles from the indie stores!  So what’s going on with y’all???

TABT, The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson

Yippeee, I’ve found another author to put on auto-buy!  This development *always* makes me happy!  Okay, here’s the blurb, and then I’ll gush:  When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert.  By all rights, she should be dead.  Now a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset—a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow—seeking answers to whom or what she really is…and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.  But the nightmare is just beginning—for the demons are hunting Joanna, and the powerful shadows want her for their own. 

Okay, let the gushing begin *g*.  This book kicked ass.   Seriously…kicked…ass.  I don’t think I’ve been so enamored of a heroine or potential continuing plotline since I first started reading Anita Blake.  Think I can beg/plead/cajole/threaten Ms. Pettersson in leaving well enough alone when it comes to a heroine everybody loves??  LOL. 

This is a dark book…I won’t kid you on that regard.  Joanna is a *really* wounded, scarred person, and there isn’t a whole lotta happiness and light to soften her…and the little bit that is there, well, let’s just say it sucks to be her.  In some ways, this is almost a “literary” book, at least to me, because it tackles really ugly internal issues.  Where Pettersson deviates from the traditional angst-ridden/driven heroine, though, is that Joanna GROWS from her experiences, rather than sitting around the coffeeshop lamenting them and such. 

If you want to totally dive into a book and be immersed, for both the good and bad, grab this one…you won’t be disappointed!

Manic Monday…

Have you ever had one of those Mondays?  You know, where nothing seems to go right, and you just wish you’d stayed in bed?  Well, today that’s been me.  Got up to the beautiful drone of the alarm, showered and all that good stuff, then went to dry my hair…and got squat.  The damned hairdryer was dead.  How it was fine yesterday, but fried today completely escapes me.  Anyway, I’m one of those girls with complete stoner hair…straight as a board, makes me look like a seventies reject if I don’t do lots of stuff to it…and I’m late on getting it repermed.  Sooooo, the big question arose.  Do I zip over to Wally and get a new hairdryer, then frantically dash around trying to get ready, or do I just take a powder, stay home and write?

Since I had zippo on my calendar today, and my boss was on leave, I decided on door #2, thank you very much!  LOL.  In happy news, I guess that means I’ll be able to report a massive word count on Wednesday, right?  At least in theory.

So does my choice make me a total slack-ass?  If I’d had meetings or something totally hot on my plate, then I would’ve gone into work anyway, but yesterday I wrote 2600 words on View, and I wanna continue that trend, soooo, slack-asses of the world, unite!!  LOL.

Since this post is obviously not my usual Monday fare, I wanted to also go off on a totally different tangent that I’ve been angsting over a bit (and I don’t angst).

The students from Virginia Tech are heading back to school today, and watching what’s transpired over the last week just boils my blood.  Yes, Cho was pretty much a completely loose screw (and if you wanna read a GREAT take on him, check out Stephen King’s commentary), but the thing that has made me the angriest about this whole thing were some pretty damned insensitive comments I read here and there. (and I’m not going to link to these idiots to give them even more airtime)

The gist of it is this…some people are asking why the students (or teachers) didn’t charge Cho and take him out while he was reloading.

Okay, from a psychological standpoint, look at the two people (that we know about) who actually took action…one, a Holocaust survivor, and two, a regular schmo kid, who said he hid first, THEN started to think, and took action.

Folks, these students are KIDS.  Yeah, I know there are a whole lot of people their age who are now hardened warriors in the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts, but these aren’t them.  These folks were students, and as such, aren’t trained to deal with that kind of aggression…and do we really want them to be?  People don’t ask why high school students & teachers didn’t disarm a shooter when those atrocities occur…so why should these kids be any different? 

Okay, rant officially over!  We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow with a book review.

Have a better Monday than me *g*!!

MIA…

Hi all — sorry I’ve been MIA this week…taking care of biz here…promise I’ll be back next week with a full five days of posting!!

Thought to Ponder Thursday…Kurt Vonnegut RIP

By now many of you have heard that Kurt Vonnegut passed away yesterday.  What a tragic, tragic loss.  Whether you followed his non-conformist school of thought or not, he was a visionary when it came to expression.  Breakfast of Champions was my favorite work of his, although I’ve proudly got copies of BoC, Bluebeard, Galapagos, Hocus Pocus and Mother Night on my “keeper” bookshelf.  Interestingly enough, I never read his most famous work, Slaughterhouse-Five.  But now, in rememberance, I’ll be picking it up off of Amazon and adding it to my TBR pile as well as my Vonnegut shelf…

What’s Going on With Me Wednesday

Life has been kinda interesting the last week… 

Today I’m chatting with a private newsletter group (and praying I’m not sounding like an ass), but in between the flurry of questions & answers, I’m working on both View and Sea of Dreams.  Not sure what happened this weekend, but suddenly I was inspired on both of them.  With View, it’s the saga of continuing rewrites, but I think Sea finally gelled a bit as to where I was going with it.  So far I’ve amassed a grand total of 8K words on View and 3K on Sea, which is pretty good considering I just started really pounding away on Saturday.  I have to wonder what set me off on this new course, and how in the heck I can not only sustain it, but continue it further down the road.  

My friend Rachel recently finished her latest project and wondered “what to do?”  Should she start rewrites on a story that was still in the “sales” portion of its life, or maybe work on a novella, or perhaps start outlining her next book?  That’s kind of where I’ve been…but with other projects.  In the past, I’ve allowed myself to become distracted by sideline stuff…editing other people’s work, doing extracurricular stuff in the day job, above-and-beyond projects for my RWA chapter.  I’ve made kind of an “I’m 40 now, and need to get my shit together” decision.  I’m committed to seeing the NRCA through to the end (in July), and then I’m handing it off to Vicki and Chrystal (the two wonderful ladies who’ve offered to take it over) and serving in kind of an advisory capacity.  Same with the editing gig in general…I’ll continue to oversee editing services, but when it comes to one-on-one stuff, it’s getting turfed out to the other editors.  I need to spend the next year (after July) concentrating on my writing, not other folks’ (with the exception of my gorgeous, talented crit partners and chapter sisters).  Then, before Nationals next year, I’ll be able to sit down, look at my progress and really measure it. 

Every time I start talking about doing something like this I feel really guilty…until my hubby or one of my friends smacks me in the back of the head and tells me that I already do a ton, and that I need to take some “me” time.  Soooo, beginning 1 August, expect my Wednesday “column” to be a no-shit countdown of what’s going on in my writing life!!

TABT…Rogue Angel–Destiny by Alex Archer

Archaeologist and explorer Annja Creed’s fascination with the myths and mysteries of the past leads her to a crypt in the caves of France, where the terrifying legend of the Beast of Gevaudan hints at the unimaginable.  What she discovers is shattering: an artifact that will seal her destiny; a brotherhood of monks willing to murder to protect their secret; and a powerful black market occultist desperate to put his own claim to centuries-old blood money.  Annja embarks on a high-tension race across Europe and history itself, intent on linking the unholy treachery of the ages with the staggering revelations of the present.  But she must survive the shadow figures determined to silence her threat to their existence. 

 What a fabulous action-adventure story!  Annja is an awesome heroine…strong, but with interesting flaws.  The mythology in this is just plain interesting (from a historical standpoint) and fun.  I know this series is written by a rotation of authors under the Alex Archer pseudonym, and I can’t help but wonder how many of them were involved in the Madonna Key books, because the strong female lead theme is very similar.  On that vein, if you enjoyed the Madonna Key books, you’ll probably enjoy these, and vice versa!