Reading Bingo, 2014

I discovered this Reading Bingo on cleopatra loves books and I like it so much I am going to do it myself. Like her, I’m going to limit this to books I read this year. So I can do it again next year. ;)

A Book With More Than 500 Pages

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill: My first horror book. It was a little longer than it needed to be, I think. But pretty interesting anyway.

 

A Forgotten Classic

The Orient Express by Agatha Christie: A book I really enjoyed. A classic, but not forgotten. Most people know the story.

 

A Book That Became a Movie

The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver became a movie years ago, but I haven’t seen it. The book was really good though.

 

A Book Published This Year

This one is easy. I read lots of books published this year. Lets go with Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb. It was good. Ms. Hobb takes the rule about murdering your darlings very seriously.

 

A Book With A Number In The Title

I don’t think I’ve read any books with a number in the title this year. So sad.

 

A Book Written by Someone Under Thirty

I don’t know the age of anyone of the authors I’ve read this year, but I sincerely doubt any of them are under thirty.

 

A Book With Non Human Characters

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop has plenty of non-human characters. Werewolves, vampires, werecrows, oh my! And other assorted non-humans, too.

A Funny Book

Maybe Ball & Chain by Abigail Roux? It’s a quirky romantic suspense, but still probably the funniest book I’ve read this year. There are lots of hilarious moments.

A Book By A Female Author

I’ve a lot to choose from for this, but I’m going with Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews! I liked it and I’d been looking forward to it since the last book when I read it. The end was unexpected.

A Book With A Mystery

I probably have read only two straight mysteries this whole year, but I’ve already mentioned and I don’t want to reuse. So I am going with Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris. It was good. A little strange, but good.

A Book With A One Word Title

I reread Princeps by L E Modesitt, Jr this year and I really enjoyed the rereading. Worth rereading (clearly!)

A Book of Short Stories

Shadows Beneath by Brandon Sanderson , Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, Mary Robinette Kowal. This group does a writing podcast, Writing Excuses, and they wrote this to illustrate the process of writing a story, first drafts, revisions and all. It was interesting.

A Book Set On A Different Continent

Does a different world count? I don’t know. Well, I hope Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett fits. The world is very, very different.

A Book of Non-Fiction

Um. I am pretty close to finishing The Secret History of the Mongol Queens. Does that count?

A Book Based Upon A True Story

I got no books based on a true story.

The First Book By A Favourite Author

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie is her debut book and it’s fantastic! I will definitely be reading the second book.

A Book I Heard About Online

I hear about quite a few books online, but I am going to choose Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews. It was first published online, on the writer’s website, and it’s pretty good.

A Best Selling Book

Festive in Death by JD Robb was a New York Times bestseller. Most of the In Death books are bestsellers, so it’s not surprising.

A Book Your Friend Loves

Maybe Festive in Death by JD Robb.

A Book At the Bottom Of Your To Be Read Pile

There are a lot on my TBR list. Um . . . Ghost Story by Jim Butcher?

A Book That Scares You

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill is the only horror book I read this year (or ever!) but nothing was especially scary.

A Book That Is More Than 10 Years Old

I reread Exile’s Song by Marion Zimmer Bradley this year and it was first published in 1997, so more than 10 years old. Really good, too, it was the first Darkover book I ever read.

 

The Second Book In A Series

Murder of Crows by  Anne Bishop is the second book in this series!

A Book With A Blue Cover

Cross & Crown by Abigail Roux! I did a bit of searching, but I found one, from a book I haven’t already mentioned.

 

I got 21 out of 25 squares! 20 out of 24, if you don’t the free one in the middle.

My Spammers like Apple

I’ve noticed lately that a lot of my spam posts involve the iOS, the Mac, the iPhone or the iPad. My spammers must love Apple.

I cannot imagine what I’ve done to acquire so much spam involving Apple products. The only Apple product I own is an ancient iPod. And I’ve never blogged about it!

Some of the spam is flattering, some isn’t and it’s all a little weird. There was a time when most spam involved body parts.

Witness some of my Apple loving spam comments. And all these appeared in the last couple weeks!

1) Hello there, right after changing in order to iOS four. three. just one, I found the actual video camera jiggle is unfilled, it will be recharging… ‘ forever when attempting to signific pics.

2) Basically working together with iphone. a few. When you attempt to transfer pictures the app be unsuccessful.

3) I personally use iphoto in between my very own wife’s imac as well as the mac book. I usually down load the pictures on my apple macbook, work with these, and then upload them having a HARDWARE for you to free up storage in the laptop computer. Do they offer service that with “dropbox” making use of the finder?

4) rather than acquiring these drawbacks, ipad carries just like warm birthday cake. .

5) It seems that my very own mobile phone provides great improvements over apple ipad,,, the thing that i abhor is usually, it will not assistance universal serial bus,,,

 

Friday Flash: Sweet Sixteen

Today’s Friday Flash! It still needs work, I think, but I am not sure exactly what.

Crazy color smeared across her face. Pale pink on her eyelid transformed into neon pink on her eyebrow. The left eyelid was colored light blue, but somehow bright blue dotted her cheeks. Her hair was powdered with lemon yellow. Similar colors spilled down her shirt and the new white shorts she’d wanted to wear for her birthday party.

“What are you supposed to be?” he asked.

She burst into tears. Oddly, her tears made no tracks through the color on her face.

His wife chose that moment to come in and scowled at him. “She’s a Neon. Her ability is to spread color on every surface.”

He winced. That was the most useless Neon ability. Invariably, they were house painters, interior designers or fashion designers. Artists, too, many times.

Too bad his baby girl could only draw stick figures and hadn’t the fashion sense of a poodle.

“Come here.”

“Papa!” She threw herself into his arms. “What am I gonna do?”

“I don’t know, sweetie.” He closed his arms tight around her. “We’ll figure something out.”

They had time. She was only sixteen.

Comic hero colors

Yesterday, I posted something about the Marvel special I watched. I posted a picture of Marvel superheroes to go with it.
Afterward, I looked at it and thought: why do almost all the superheroes have red and/or blue costumes? With a little black or brown thrown in.
The Hulk really stands out in his green skin.

This includes Superman (who wears blue andred) and Batman, who wears black. The X-Men don’t, but they mostly wear regular clothes.

It’s almost like there is an unofficial superhero uniform. Isn’t that strange?

Marvel: 75 Years, From Pulp to Pop!

There was a special on yesterday about the history of Marvel Comics.

It was good. Fun and educational.

One thing I learned was that comics used to be blamed for youth delinquency. Just like movies and video games today. I suppose something in popular culture is always going to be responsible for youthful delinquency. So comics had some sort of approval board.

The second thing I learned was that Stan Lee was the verge of quitting the comics business when he created the Fantastic Four. He didn’t like what he was creating. I think the movie even said that he was ashamed of working in comics and that makes no sense at all. So good wife advised him to write the comics of his dreams, something he would want to read. So the Fantastic Four was born.

The third thing I learned was that once upon a time (after Stan Lee) Marvel Comics was bankrupt. Somehow they went from bankruptcy to creating Marvel Studios and I’m not clear on how that happened. I mean, a movie studio is expensive, right?

I could have wished they spent more time on the darker superheroes period in the eighties, on their first venture into TV. Apparently the first Marvel TV shows did not do well. I don’t know anything about that. I loved the Spiderman and Fantastic Four cartoons. I really loved X-Men, too. Really. And I first loved them on TV.

All in all, a good show. Even if I’ve never actually read a Marvel comic.

Teaser Tuesday: The Rook

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:

This is who I am , she thought bitterly.  I don’t even get the luxury of not knowing what my name is.

- by Dan O’Malley

National Novel Writing Month and National Blog Posting Month

NaBloPoMo_November

Nationalnanowrimo-logo Novel Writing Month and National Blog Posting Month start today. 

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo. The current WiP doesn’t have another 50,000 words in it. I’m still slightly stuck, so the word count isn’t moving very fast. And I really don’t want to start something new.

If I were on schedule, I could have and it would have been so much fun! (I actually have ideas for several novel -length ideas!) But I’m not so . . . No.

But I thought maybe I could do National Blog Posting Month. You have to post something each day of the month. The closest I’ve come to that is the A-Z Challenge, where you post every day but the weekends. Me, I barely managed it this year. I used the weekends to write some of the week’s posts.

I’ve been blogging for 4 years how and I’ve never managed to blog everyday for a month, weekends and all. I may, however, have gone for a whole month without blogging.

So I’m not really very confident about my ability to do so now. But I suppose it will be an interesting challenge.

Friday Flash: Brave, Pretty Girls

I have a friday flash! I wanted a Halloween theme, and I managed it, I think. Well, there is a ghost anyway.

 

White petals perched on her head like a crown. Satin peach-colored ribbons tied in pretty bows over white shoulders held her filmy white dress in place. The wind blew snowflakes right through her.

I froze at the sight.

She looked up, waved, turned and disappeared through the garage wall.

I stumbled out of bed, threw open the window and stuck my head out into the snow and wind. Nothing. Snow swirled through the pool of porch light, but not so much as a footprint disturbed the snow mounded on the ground. No one would be out on a night like this anyway.

I shut the window, drew the blinds and retreated to the soft warmth of my comforter.

I picked up the silver framed photo on the bedside table. Chocolate brown curls, fresh from the hair salon. A white satin mask, decorated with pearls and pink petals, dangled from her fingers. No doubt I’d spent too much time looking at her picture before bed.

I placed the frame on the empty pillow next to me and pulled the comforter over us both.

 

Morning was fair and bright and cold. Blown snow made lovely, ethereal patterns against the window glass. She would have loved it.

I wandered down to the dining room. She lay on the table, pretty, perfectly made up, with all the faint red ting at her throat. Some of her makeup would cover that. Such a sad necessity. But she’d refused the sweet poison. Had flung at him, in fact, and tried to run.

Brave girl. I ran her a finger down the cool, waxy skin of her cheek. I did so admire her. So pretty.

She was perfect for my collection. All the brave, pretty girls. Next week, I would start looking for the next one.

For now . . . for now I lifted her in my arms and positioned her just so. She was so pliable, so eager to please now. No more running.

 

I rubbed my eyes. This couldn’t be. It simply wasn’t possible.

Every single photo had her. From my dream. But how could my dreams make into the photos?

I leaned back in my chair and jumped.

She stood behind the computer, leaning forward. Her beautiful curls brushed through the computer screen. The light from it glinted off the knife in her hand. His sharpest kitchen knife, the one he’d –

Screaming filled my ears. I rose, staggered back and fell, banged my head on the chair’s wheels.

Her eyes sparkled like black diamonds, full of fire and beauty.

No, the fire was real. It was, it was –

 

Pained thumped through me and I moaned. Slowly, I opened my eyes. Dozens of pretty, fierce faces stared me. All of my brave, pretty girls.

Blog’s Fourth Birthday

My blog turns four today.

blog4thbirthday-001 It’s pretty amazing. Four years ago, the world was a different place.

But I’m still here! I’m thrilled about that. I love this blog, I really do. I have gotten better at picking images to go with posts, I think.

I still haven’t found the perfect theme. I’m starting to lose hope I ever will. But it’s not such a big deal.

Hoping the next year will be bigger and better!

 

Friday Flash: Moon Ritual

This is my first Friday flash in a long, long time. I don’t really like how some   of it came out so if you see a way to improve it, let me know! It’s just a little over 600 words.

Once upon a time, there was a princess happily married.

Then came the fourth day after the full moon in the eighth month of the year.

Hunger gnawed at her. The smell of cooking onions pricked her stomach. Her throat was parched. She prayed for the moon to come up, so she might drink.

She looked at the living room window. Stars sparkled in the sky, nearly as bright as her finery, but the moon was no where in sight.

This was for her husband, she reminded herself. If she was dizzy, if her head felt lighter than a leaf, it was for the greater good.

Gold bangles jangled as she walked back to the sofa. Sitting felt good; she felt as if hunger had taken her legs from her.

Her younger brother watched her with worried eyes. “You should eat, sister.”

”The ritual isn’t complete yet,” she said.

He shook his head, frowning. Her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law strolled in, followed by the maid. She carried a tray of savory fritters and sweets for the men and single girls.

Her brother pushed the maid away and rose to his feet. “Excuse me.”

“Come.” Her mother-in-law clapped her hands. “The moon will he up soon. Lets prepare our prayer trays.”

Obediently, she polished hers until it was as bright as a mirror. Her red veil looked good on her, she thought. Her husband would like it.

Her brothers, all seven of them, came back in. “The moon is up, sister,” the youngest sang out.

She rushed to the window to look. A bright, yellow light glowed in the distance.

She snatched up her prayer tray, but paused when none of her sister-in-laws prepared to come outside with her. “Aren’t you coming?”

”Oh,” said the oldest, a vision in green silk and delicate gold embroidery. “This moon is for you only.”

She frowned, puzzled. But the maid walked in and set a tray on a table. Her stomach rumbled at the smell of sugar and butter.

She ran out, prayer tray in hand. She flicked and poured water, murmured words over her offering.

Dinner was wonderful, fried bread and cheese, and her favorite, stuffed okra.

Than the maid walked in and announced: ”Your husband, the king, is ill.”

She rushed to his side, fell to her knees and cried out.

Her younger brother, shame-faced, told her what her sisters-in-law already knew: they had built a large bonfire on top of the next hill so she would think the moon was up and eat.

The princess begged the goddess forgiveness for her mistake.

Hundreds of needles pierced his skin. Slowly, laboriously, she pulled them out. Night and day, she knelt at his side and pulled needles. The pile grew to the thickness of her thumb, than her wrist and after months of labor, twice as big as her husband’s chest. Finally, only a few needles were left in her husband’s body.

The fourth day after the full moon in the eighth month of the year came again.

She left the maid pulling needles while she prepared her prayer tray.

She poured and flicked water to complete the ritual.

When she came back to her husband’s side, he was smiling and holding the maid’s hands.

She thought her heart would stop. She prayed to the goddess. Years passed.

She murmured words over next year’s prayer tray. “The queen becomes the maid and the maid becomes queen. The queen becomes the maid and the maid becomes queen. The queen becomes the maid and the maid becomes queen.”

One day, the king, curious, asked why kept the repeating the same words. She told him the story. He made her queen once more.

And that is why you don’t end the ritual before the moon rises.