Thursday, December 29, 2005

Confessions of an Ex-Girlfriend by Lynda Curnyn

Title: Confessions of an Ex-Girlfriend

Author: Lynda Curnyn

Genre: Chick Lit

Summary: Ex-girlfriend Emma Carter lists the truths about being an ex while trying to figure out what went wrong, what went right and how to be single in New York City.

The Take-Away: Even though this is set in New York, it would have been possible to imagine most of the scenes taking place right here in Oshkosh. Emma shops, but not at the brand name stores; who can actually afford that stuff? She parties, but the bars weren't different than what I would find around her.

I really enjoyed this sense of "anywhere" rather than "It's New York." Most novels in this rapidly expanding genre are so busy showing the glamorous side of things that they overlook the every day things. Emma Carter fills that hole.

Recommendation: Borrow it from the library, but don't let your dog chew on the cover. (It costs $12.95 to replace.)

The Dangers of Reviews

I had reviewed Riddles of Epsilon by Christine Morton-Shaw in September 2005. A couple of days ago, Ms Morton-Shaw found my review and left a comment.

No, I don't know why the comment count says zero. It must be something with the various tricks I've played. It works on the new entries.

I was thrilled to hear from her, especially as she offered some insight into the diary format she chose to tell her tale in. I had found it unrealistic as I was and am a journaller. But as she points out in her comment, the pacing would have been drastically effected if she had held true to the style of a journaller.

Her next novel, entitled The Hunt for the Seventh, is feverishly being penned at this moment. In between taking care of six kids.

I can't wait for it's release.

Oh, and by the by, if you do read my review, it got screwy because of the recoding I did to the site in late October. Sorry about that.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Split Second by David Baldacci

Title: Split Second

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Mystery

Summary: An ex-CIA is tangled in the mystery surrounding the kidnapping of a sure-to-lose presidential canidate and the agent assigned to protect him.

The Take-Away: Mr. Baldacci's books are always packed with excitement and action. Seldom is it over the top or unbelievable. This is one author who knows how to keep unrealistic events connected in a cohert fashion. The sequel, Hour Game, keeps Sean and Michelle going into another case, just as deadly and just as thrilling.

Recommendation: Buy the two of them and start a collection. Then go to Mr. Baldacci's site and get an autograph sent to your house to stick in the front cover of your copy.

Crapometer Update

UPDATE: Mine's there now. Ouch. But then again, there is truth to it.

My comments to hers. If you haven't read at least the comments Miss Snark made then this won't make sense.

She is absolutely correct in that the events are bogged down. The first four paragraphs are actually the first five pages and a prologue. A prologue that I'm not sure should be part of it.

To meet the word requirement, I cut about 100 words. Some of those words indicated that time passed. Stupid, really, to leave that bit out.

Jo doesn't come through as the character I intend her to be. Obviously I have somethings to fix in the synopsis to show that. Her drinking problem is pretty bad, actually, to the point where she has black outs and doesn't remember events from the night before. I think Emily is correct to lecture her, but she might be sounding harsher than she required here, I'm not sure.

The teen center as Alex sees it is how I've portrayed it and that's exactly what needs to be fixed. It needs to be a Starbucks, as Miss Snark says. I'm missing the bit where Jo helps Alex realize why it isn't working and what he needs to fix it.

When I submitted this, I had reservations. I wrote it as part of an outlining process called the Snowflake Method. I'm not actually done with the book; writing a one page synopsis is Step Four. I have about 60 pages written (22,000 words) and the first 50 pages are with my crit group now. When we meet next, I'm bringing Miss Snark's review (for those who are not wise enough to read her blog already) and ask if her comments hold true for the manuscript.

Even though the review is scathing, I can see what is working and what isn't as far as my synopsis, and others. It's a great perspective on the industry. I'm eternally grateful that she is taking the time to do this.

The other reason for the chipper outlook is that if it was truly heinous, she would have mentioned aliens in Chapter 14 or given it an effective pass with few comments. The fact that it was worthy of as many comments as it has means that something must have worked that it was worth the time to comment.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Kwanzaa : M-W's Word of the Day

The Word of the Day for December 26 is:

Kwanzaa \KWAHN-zuh\ noun

: an African-American cultural festival held from December 26 to January 1

Example sentence:

A joyous family spirit pervaded the Allen family's Kwanzaa celebration as three generations came together for a delightful meal and a beautiful candle-lighting ceremony.

Did you know?

In 1966, Maulana Karenga, a Black-studies professor at California State University at Long Beach, created a new holiday patterned after traditional African harvest festivals. He called it 'Kwanzaa,' a name he took from a Swahili term that means 'first fruits.' The holiday, which takes place from December 26th to January 1st, was originally intended as a nonreligious celebration of family and social values. Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith."

And now you know.

Everyone Else's Girl by Megan Crane

Title: Everyone Else's Girl

Author: Megan Crane

Genre: Chick Lit

Summary: An unexpected accident forces Meredith McKay to take a critical look at her life. After her father breaks his leg in a car accident, Megan stays home to take care of him. Being in her hometown after a long hiatus brings past relationships and family issues up close and person and Megan has to face some uncomfortable truths.

The Take-Away: Based on the title, I expected Meredith as the main character to be bending over backwards to do whatever it takes to make someone else happy. Instead she comes off as the "Good Girl" always doing what is right. Perhaps the distinction line between them is fine. Perhaps my expectations and the piece were too far apart. Whatever the reason, the title didn't jive with the output for me.

But Meredith is forced into evaluating what she has done with her life, the way she has treated people and what her expectations are. She takes an honest look at herself and discovers that she is wanting. The appropriate measures are taken and she strives to make the transition.

Recommendation: Keep an eye out for more Megan Crane books. I liked her style and the steps she took for the character's self discovery.


Miss Snark has started reviewing the synopses, one by one, with her comments. As expected, there are both good and bad.

Mine's not there yet and I will reveal which it is when it appears.

UPDATE: Mine's there now. Ouch. But then again, there is truth to it.

My comments to hers are in a new post.

Congratulations are in Order

Every bloggers' dream come true

The Friday Project secures publishing rights to London Ambulance Service blogger, 'Random Acts of Reality'

The Friday Project is delighted to announce that it has secured the rights to 'Random Acts of Reality', a book based on the acclaimed online diary of London-based Emergency Medical Technician (E.M.T.), Tom Reynolds.

Tom began working as a nurse for the NHS at the age of 23. He worked in four hospitals but moved to the London Ambulance Service after realising that working in A&E was making him 'want to torture patients'. Now, as an E.M.T., he has finally found his true calling - so much so that he has stopped torturing 'all but the congenitally obnoxious... and drunks.'

Since 2003, Tom has kept an online diary (or 'weblog', or even 'blog'), candidly recording every aspect of his daily working life. From the tragic to the hilarious, from the heartwarming to the terrifying, the stories Tom tells give a fascinating - and at times alarming - picture of life in inner-city Britain, and the people who are paid to mop up after it.

Tom was also kind enough to answer some questions from his readers.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Bride Needs a Groom by Wendy Markham

Title: Bride Needs Groom

Author: Wendy Markham

Genre: Chick Lit

Summary: In order to inherit her grandfather's lottery winnings, Mia must be married before her grandfather's 85th birthday. Just like any modern woman, she finds one online. Except that on her way for their first face to face meeting (and their wedding day) she meets someone that is much more interesting. Afterall, it would be a marriage in name only. Now she just needs to convince him of it.

The Take-Away: Easy to read, somewhat entertaining. The whole marrying for inheritance works because Mia is sweet and I wanted good things for her. Until she comes home and has to face Grandpa Junie. Then all believability falls apart.

Ms Markham (a pen name, by the way) makes extensive use of flash back for both Mia and her emergency husband, Derrick. The scenes were meant to develop character, I think. It didn't work for me. They should have been tossed on the cutting room floor.

Recommendation: Ms Markham also writes murder mysteries. I'm betting that she does these better. I'd try one of those before I'd try another one of her chick lit novels.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Trial Run

Miss Snark has opened up the Crapometer to Synopsis. I've braved the snarky waters and thrown my pitch. I'm quaking and won't be able to stand myself until she finishes posting everything she is going to. See her post for details, if interested.

Or watch her site for my work.

Night Tales by Nora Roberts

Title: Night Tales (2 in 1)

Author: Nora Roberts

Genre: Romance

Summary: Fighting bad guys, kissing girls and rescuing anyone in distress -- all the prerequisites for any Harlequin or Silhouette title.

The Take-Away: This was previously published under the Silhouette series, but Ms Roberts is beginning to show the style and voice of her current works. The exploration of multiple books based on the same set of character has started in this 2 in 1 novel also.

Recommendation: Worth while to read, but borrow it from a friend or the library.

To Die For by Linda Howard

Title: To Die For

Author: Linda Howard

Genre: Mystery

Summary: A local gym owner becomes the target of the killer who murdered a member who has too many enemies.

The Take-Away: Between the cover and the backcover copy, I expected something like Tami Hoag or Patricia Cromwell. What I got was closer to Janet Evanovich but with plot holes that had been patched with easy solutions.

The story was easy to read, the dialogue between love interests showed that they were indeed love interests, but too many times the plot was contrived. For instance, Blair Mallory, the owner of the gym, has a past relationship with the lead investigator, Wyatt Bloodsworth. They went on two dates. Two years ago. Yet, Blair continues to resent him for not calling her back. Once I got over my skepticism that anyone would feel that way after two dates two years later, the dialogue showed that there was the typical attraction often found in romance books.

One review said "One can only hope Linda Howard hasn't permanently departed from her usually engrossing mysteries for something this fluffy, frivolous, and flawed. S.J.H. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine" It wasn't enough to convince me that I should read another.

Recommendation: Pass, unless you really like light weight murder mysteries with one too many easy solutions.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

How Much is Too Much?

Tom Reynolds posted a site that will let you know how much is too much.

Just in case you wondered if you were becoming an alcoholic during the stress wonder of the Christmas season.

Trick of the Eye by Jane Stanton Hitchcock

Title: Trick of the Eye

Author: Jane Stanton Hitchcock

Genre: Fiction

Summary: The daughter of a prominent New York family was found dead shortly after her debutante cotillion took place. The building remained locked until a trompe l'oeil artist is asked to decorate a ballroom that was used that night. The mystery surrounding the death intriques Faith Crowell, the artist, and she begins to investigate. She finds out that she isn't the only interested in the solving the murder.

The Take-Away: A real nail biter. The suspense was fantastic. Things seemed off and I knew I should be looking for clues, but they were so cleverly planted that I didn't see them until the end when Frances Griffin reveals her true reasons for commisioning the piece.

Recommendation: Wait until summer and read it during a thunderstorm. Then run out and get Social Crimes, Ms Hitchcock's second novel.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Living Will Is Important To Relationships

A man and his wife were sitting in the living room and he said to her, "Just so you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

His wife got up, unplugged the TV and threw out all of his beer.

I can honestly say that mine isn't like that, but he still has his foibles. But then he'll do something completely wonderful and I forget about the faults.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Title: The Red Tent

Author: Anita Diamant

Genre: Historical

Summary: The story of Dinah is included in the larger picture of Jacob and his wives Leah, Rebecca and their handmaidens.

The Take-Away: The culture beyond the Israelites is shown in the lives of the women, which were essentially separate from the men. In reading this book, I was able to interpret how the practices of the Canaanites were kept. It expands on the story while tying in the elements that are documented in the Bible and other places.

The book shows another side of these women who have an important role in the Bible. It gives them personality and brings them to life. The dynamics of the two wives are dealt with. The teraphim, or household gods of Laban, are explained. Motive is given to Rebecca taking them.

While this is a work of fiction, I appreciate the picture that Ms Diamant draws for her readers. On her website, Ms Diamant explain her thoughts and research for the book.

Recommendation: Read it and see what might have been.

Holly by Jude Deveraux

Title: Holly

Author: Jude Deveraux

Genre: Romance

Summary: Holly Latham searches for new old houses to rescue and finds herself being rescued instead by Nick Taggert.

What was Good: The dialogue and sparks between Holly and Nick are what longtime readers of Jude Deveraux love.

What wasn't: As with all too many of Jude's lastest books, plot holes are patched and the cracks show through the spackling.

The Take-Away: The first romances I ever read were by Jude Deveraux and I loved them. In fact, I'd pull out certain titles (Wishes, The Raider, River Lady) before I'd read a new one. I hoped that with the return of the Taggarts that things would have improved. Sadly, that was not the case.

Recommendation: Read it, but don't expect the best from her.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carrolly Erickson

Title: The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette

Author: Carrolly Erickson

Genre: Historical

Summary: The innermost thoughts of a teenage Marie Antoinette are recorded up through the days before her death.

What was Good: The remarks are playful, cheery and wondering, just as any woman's would be. The pain and suffering that she went through as a mother and a queen is recorded, along with the temptation to have affairs. Other concerns of the time and day are protrayed in a realistic manner. Setting the fashion for France and the constant remodelling occupied many of her hours. Even though she understood that all of those things cost money, Marie never associated them with the poverty or increasing taxes of the nation.

What wasn't: Light and fluffy. I expected a "heavier" reading such as I've found with novels about Elizabeth I or Mary, Queen of Scots.

The Take-Away: It works as an introduction in to the life and times of Marie Antoinette, but don't expect any dense scholarly discuss afterwards. Also, if you borrow this book from the Oshkosh Public Library, my apologies for the lack of dust cover and slightly chewed upon spine. It's a long story.

Recommendation: Placing it on your reading list makes you look thoughtful and scholarly.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Making Minimum Wage

Starting Over would be challenging for anyone, but what if you had to exist on a minimum wage job? One reporter took the plunge to see what it would be like.

I'm three weeks into a monthlong project aimed at showing what life is like for people starting over in Passaic County: the thousands of new immigrants who arrive each year, or people who've lost jobs. What kind of work and housing exist for those who need both, fast? This is my assignment: Find a job and a place to live and write about the experience.

Last year, 85,069 Passaic County residents - 17 percent of the county's population - lived below the federal poverty line, as compared with 722,300 - 8.5 percent — statewide. Legal Services of New Jersey's Poverty Research Institute estimates that a single person living in Passaic County needs to make $9.64 an hour to meet all his or her needs. Can I do that?


I kept a job and a roof over my head and my belly mostly full - a life of minimalist survival. I couldn't have supported a child or taken a vacation, a day off or a sick day. To do better, I'd need to do what so many, like Julio, do: work a second job. An illness or work slowdown could have plunged me into homelessness.

At the office, I put my bags down and hug my colleagues. In the weeks ahead, I'll find I'm still scraping by at the paper, but it's different than temping in Passaic. I can eat when I want to, see my girlfriend and friends, talk to my co-workers instead of laboring in silence. I feel connected to the world, and that makes a huge difference.

Every so often I'll hear what a person needs to be making an hour just to pay for rent and basics. Seldom is it minimum wage. Yet, if they raise minimum wages, I don't get a raise to compensate.

The other thing I'd like to know is how many of those minimum wage workers are teenagers? Before Congress raises the minimum wage laws, I hope that they look at that statistic also. If 50% or more are under the age of 18, we really don't need to have minimum wage raised. The 19 and above set need to take advantage of existing programs to train for better jobs.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes

Title: Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married

Author: Marian Keyes

Genre: Chick Lit

Summary: After a trip to a fortune teller, Lucy Sullivan finds out that she is getting married in one year's time. When the prophecies of her three office mates come true, Lucy begins to think that Gus might be The One.

What was Good: Good dialogue. Funny characters. Lucy is the sort of worker that everyone knows. Most days it's an effort even to turn her computer on. It is so much easier to gossip with her co-workers about her romantic life.

What wasn't: Predictable. The guy who you think she ends up with is the one she ends ups with. Except that I realized it when the page numbering was in the 20s and it didn't end until page 440.

The Take-Away: What is up with the Irish and going to fortune tellers? Every Irish author I've read has at least one of their characters headed to the fortune teller for a 30 pound or more reading.

Recommendation: It's sweet, but Ms Keyes is still developing her skills in this book.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

More Defenders of Freedom of Speech

UW-Eau Claire: Ban on RAs Leading Bible Studies is the lastest freedom of speech case I've seen. Actually, I heard it on the radio this morning. I'm eternally grateful that people are getting lawyers and defending themselves.

The real fun is that they can't say anything about his job, because even RAs get time off. They can't say anything about it being in the dorm, because it's where he lives.

Is it just me, or is anyone else getting fed up with being told what to do and how to do it? And then people have the audacity to wonder where the Edisons, the Franklins and the Rockfellers are. It is impossible to graduate from high school or college and become a free thinker. Free thinking needs to be nurtured and developed in school.

Launching kids into the work force with the expectation to "figure it out" doesn't work when they've been spoon-fed instructions their whole lives.

Meeting an Old Friend

Almost everyone I went to college with has scattered to the four corners of this nation. All save two who live in the Fox Valley, but I seldom see. Life with kids is busier than anything I've ever done before basically because they are always there and are too short to get anything for themselves.

A week or so ago I made an appointment to see Matt, who I've neglected since a mutual friend's wedding about five years ago. I say appointment as he now sells a variety of insurance and financial services.

I came about /this/ close to cancelling the appointment. Simply put, I was scared. The reasons were similar to the ones in this post, but slightly different. I know that I'm not the same outspoken girl that I was. I'd like to think that I've changed into a mature woman who respects the opinions of others, but the truth of it is, I'm too tired to have discussions and arguments like I used to. One, it would require me to keep up with current events. Two, it would require me to use logical thought and planning. I do that at work all day.

Truth be told, I have changed so much that I feared Matt would wonder why we were friends.

I'm not sure how he viewed me after a five year lapse, but I saw confidence oozing from him as I've never seen before. The same habits of tallking outloud during self-correction and asking insightful questions were there, but back by this amazing level of confidence. I took it to mean that he has truly found a career he enjoys and has good things going on in his personal life.

Now that we've narrowed that gap some, I'm hoping that we can keep up a little better at least. Any of my college friends will state that I'm terrible at correspondence and I would agree. But somethings are too important to let go or read about in a blog.

Meeting an Old Friend

Almost everyone I went to college with has scattered to the four corners of this nation. All save two who live in the Fox Valley, but I seldom see. Life with kids is busier than anything I've ever done before basically because they are always there and are too short to get anything for themselves.

A week or so ago I made an appointment to see Matt, who I've neglected since a mutual friend's wedding about five years ago. I say appointment as he now sells a variety of insurance and financial services.

I came about /this/ close to cancelling the appointment. Simply put, I was scared. The reasons were similar to the ones in this post, but slightly different. I know that I'm not the same outspoken girl that I was. I'd like to think that I've changed into a mature woman who respects the opinions of others, but the truth of it is, I'm too tired to have discussions and arguments like I used to. One, it would require me to keep up with current events. Two, it would require me to use logical thought and planning. I do that at work all day.

Truth be told, I have changed so much that I feared Matt would wonder why we were friends.

I'm not sure how he viewed me after a five year lapse, but I saw confidence oozing from him as I've never seen before. The same habits of tallking outloud during self-correction and asking insightful questions were there, but back by this amazing level of confidence. I took it to mean that he has truly found a career he enjoys and has good things going on in his personal life.

Now that we've narrowed that gap some, I'm hoping that we can keep up a little better at least. Any of my college friends will state that I'm terrible at correspondence and I would agree. But somethings are too important to let go or read about in a blog.

Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger

Title: Everyone Worth Knowing

Author: Lauren Weisberger

Genre: Chick Lit

Summary: An investment banker decides to take a major professional detour. After quitting her job and wallowing for a few weeks, she works for a PR firm planning parties and living the life that every girl would die for - except her.

What was Good: A keen sense of fashion and Brown education keeps the novel moving. The descriptions of the people and the parties make me glad that I have such a quiet life here in Oshkosh.

What wasn't: Ms Weisberger relied on the same themes that made The Devil Wears Prada fun. Except that they are the same themes with only slightly new twists. Girl has job any girl would die for. Girl doesn't like job. Girl quits during a big party. Girl gets the boy.

It wasn't bad, but it just wasn't spectacular either. I never got why the dating of a super hot famous, good for the PR company's PR was a sore point for the MC or the MC's boss. The relationship was drug through the tabloids, but it didn't seem that bad, more like annoying.

The Take-Away: Even though the themes were repitious, it was an entertain read and enlightening look at the way .05% of the US population lives.

Recommendation: Read it for a break inbetween weightier volumes such as The Great Gatsby and Atlas Shrugged.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick

Title: Book of Dead Days

Author: Marcus Sedgwick

Genre: Fantasy

Summary: Between Christmas and New's Years lie Dead Days, when things happen that no one ever expects. A magician has a secret that he needs Boy (who has no other name) to unlock for him. Along with the help of Willow, the magician's secret is discovered and life changes its course.

What was Good: The setting is fantastic. From the beginning, the story needs to be solved in five days. Mr. Sedgwick increases the sense of urgency through Boy's acceptance of everything that happens to him and Willow's ubiquitous questions. It's meant for kids, but I'd read it again. Perfectly scary with good breaking points for those who can't stay under the covers with the flashlight to read it.

What wasn't: Boy is so complacent and so understanding that I wanted to shake him and tell him that people don't need to be treated as he was. Which of course, is the role Willow has. But she isn't effective at it. I wanted to do it myself.

The Take-Away: The sequel The Dark Flight Down is on my list of books to read.

Recommendation: Read it at night, when the wind is blowing the branches against the living room window. It will scare you (if you have an overactive imagination and are 13.)

Midnight Rain by Holly Lisle

Title: Midnight Rain

Author: Holly Lisle

Genre: Fiction

Summary: A telephone operator for a psychic hotline is terrified that her abusive husband has found her.

What was Good: The paranormal elements were used to support the idea that the husband is really in a coma and haunting Phoebe anyway. It was freaky and had me suspending my disbelief longer than I normally would.

What wasn't: I didn't always get why the characters were attracted to one another. It seems more like the circumstances rather than something real.

The Take-Away: I plan on reading more books by Holly Lisle but not in any particular order or hurry.

Recommendation: Borrow it from the library and read it during the day.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Does Oshkosh Blog?

Here is a listing of my efforts to find more bloggers in and around Oshkosh. This is by no means a conclusive listing.

These appear to be abandoned (at the time I checked them)

Perhaps Stew will expand some of his efforts for the Northwestern Site

Friday, December 09, 2005

Snow Days

I posted this last year, but it bears repeating. (Besides, my readership has gone up since then and you probably didn't see it.)

Making paper snowflakes is fun, but making snowflakes online is better. No little cuts to pick-up and it even comes with an undo button.

I made two last year. You can search for them and see what I made.


Character Workshop

Holly Lisle is writing a Creating Characters book. Since hers are always fabulous, this should be a good workshop. The plan is to make it available as an e-book via her website in January 2006.

I’m doing the book as an intensive clinic, meaning you’ll be able to use it either to strengthen characters you’ve already written, or to create new characters from scratch. I’ll include (as I have it outlined right now) techniques I use for developing seven critical areas in each of my characters; essential questions in each area that I ask to get my characters to live for me; examples of how I’ve put each area into practice in my own work; exercises that will teach you to use and refine these techniques in your own work; and finally, the techniques I use to connect characters to each other both on the surface and in hidden ways that permit me to achieve a lot of the surprise twists that exist in my work, with exercises that will teach you how to do that, too.

Holly has added a Introduction teaser here and a Chapter One teaser here. It's going on my Christmas list.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Scary Information

I heard about United States vs. Deborah Davis during NaNo and didn't have time to post about it. Here's the highlights, but go to the site and read the whole story for yourself.

One morning in late September 2005, Deb was riding the public bus to work. She was minding her own business, reading a book and planning for work, when a security guard got on this public bus and demanded that every passenger show their ID. Deb, having done nothing wrong, declined. The guard called in federal cops, and she was arrested and charged with federal criminal misdemeanors after refusing to show ID on demand.

On the 9th of December 2005, Deborah Davis will be arraigned in U.S. District Court in a case that will determine whether Deb and the rest of us live in a free society, or in a country where we must show "papers" whenever a cop demands them.

The next came from Every Day Editor who picked up a Milwaukee Journal article about a Marquette student.

A dental student at Marquette University has been suspended for the rest of the academic year and ordered to repeat a semester after a committee of professors, administrators and students determined that he violated professional conduct codes when he posted negative comments about unnamed students and professors on a blog.


In addition to informing the student of his suspension and his need to repeat his fall semester, which costs $14,000 in tuition, [Denis] Lynch [the dental school's associate dean for academic affairs] threatened the student with expulsion if he continued to post material on "any blog sites that contain crude, demeaning and unprofessional remarks."


The student admits that some of the entries were "imprudent, immature or crude," Taylor said, but he denies that they constitute misconduct.


What bothers [Scott] Taylor [the unnamed student's lawyer] and others is what they call vagueness of Marquette's codes of conduct and the decision to apply them in this case. The dental school's code requires students "to conduct interactions with each other, with patients and with others in a manner that promotes understanding and trust" and condemns "actions, which in any way discriminate against or favor any group or are harassing in nature."

To read the whole article, avoid registration by using A password and registration name is given so you don't have more junk mail.

Shock and outrage are not strong enough words to express what I feel. Thank God these violations of basic rights are being reported, not only by newspapers, but by bloggers. I really hope that the Marquette student gets some air time on one of the local news stations.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A New Look at Temptation

I don't know the whole story behind Neil Gaiman posting these lyricks, but I like them nonetheless.

Just Me & Eve

She pushes through the bushes, she's the apple of my eye,
She's got her finger on the pinnacle, she's naked as a sigh,
And there's a serpent in the turpentine, it's lurking in the leaves,
And this is it:
It's just me and Eve...

Well I say, Madam, she says Adam, she says, simply take a nibble
It's no intertribal libel, neither question it nor quibble,
And to follow she'll extol it in a low recitative,
And this is it:
It's just me and Eve

She polishes it up till it glows.
It's the pippin with the pip of a rose.
She'll dissolve my harmless qualms with a song.
She says it's just a little apple what could possibly go wrong?

By now the viper's getting riper, and it hisses out, now listen
All that glisters isn't golden, but who says it's gonna glisten?
And it adds (it was an adder) it would hurt it to deceive --
So this is it
It's just me and Eve

She said, Adam, I said, Madam, Now your yen for horticulture
Took the pardon from our garden (home to vampire, vole and vulture),
She was naked that's a given but she'd something up her sleeve
And this was it: it's just me and Eve

Well I took the apple out of her hand,
It was red and green and utterly grand,
And Eve she started singing along,
She says, it's just a little apple what could possibly go wrong?

So I took it with a look that said I'm puzzled but acceding,
And I took a final look around the nook we call our eden,
She says, Me or the big G babe, who you going to believe?
And that was it: it's just me and Eve

There was fire in the air all around,
And everybody fell to the ground.
An angel started banging a gong
I said, it's just a little apple is that possibly so wrong?

So we wind up on the outside that's the downside of our dinner,
Was i truly that unruly or original a sinner?
So we grizzle in the drizzle, with no hope of a reprieve
And this is it
It's just me and Eve

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Book Review VII

Title: The Reading Group

Author: Elizabeth Noble

Genre: Chick Lit

Summary: A group of women confront the challenges life presents to them

What was Good: Each of the women are at different ages, thus the challenges are different. The friendships don't stretch across the board either, so not all of them have an intimate answer for the other.

What wasn't: Because there were six women, it was difficult to get a grip at first on the problems and personalities. The index provided at the front should have been a tear-out for quick reference.

The Take-Away: Very much like watching a movie with lots of action and good dialogue.

Recommendation: Read it, but assign the characters to the roles of the women in your own life. Or recognize yourself in several different characters.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Book Review VI

Title: Across the Wall

Author: Garth Nix

Genre: Fantasy, Short Story Collection

Summary: A compilation of shorts published in various places by superb fantasy writer.

What was Good: I loved the short based on the title. The "rest of the story" between Nick Sayer and Lisrael is revealed.

Nix also provides an introduction for each piece the explains the how, where and why of its existence.

What wasn't: I really want more Old Kindgom stories and the one here just left me hanging for more.

The Take-Away: I'm glad I spent the time reading it. Nix shows excellent use of voice. It was inspiring to see how he has grown as a writer, in short bursts.

Recommendation: Check it out from the library and laugh at the introductions and Nix's modesty.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bookworm Report, November 2005

My place holder in my template for these posts is "(chatty paragraph)". Today, however, I'm not feeling particularly chatty. In fact, I'm feeling down right nasty. Like I want to take a red pen to my lastest manuscript and start editing. Thankfully, this coincides with what I need to do next. I love it when life works out that way.

Bookworm Review
Year Pages Books
2001 5,139 19
2002 4,076 13
2003 2,448 7
2004 2,747 8
2005 3,410 10

For the year, I've read 105 books, or 38,610 pages, which averages to 10 books a month, or 3,510 pages per month, and an average book length of 386 pages.

Okay, the urge to be nasty is over. I'll calmly read and edit without making my manuscript bleed. Unless, of course it deserves it. In which case, I'll be ruthless. That inner editor was suppressed for the whole month of Novemember. It needs to come out some time. (wink)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Truth and Confessions of Writing

Time for Truth and Confessions

I hate writing. I love the romance of writing.

Well, actually, that's not quite true either. I love writing when I don't have to think about it. Like in my journal. Or on this blog. God knows I post without re-read more days than not.

What I actually hate is knowing that my writing is lacking something. It lacks that punch that grabs your stomach, twists it in knots, and makes it real.

It lacks a confident author writing about what she fears.

I know this because I found a memoir that I did for the one and only creative writing class I've ever taken. The class required four submissions, one from each format structure we studied that semster, with one genre to spare.

I wrote a short story, a poem, and the memoir. The fourth piece was something I had written before taking the class and cheated by submitting it with minimal editing.

Dear god I just admitted to the entire internet that I cheated in a college level course. If that doesn't blow my cover, nothing will.

The memoir focuses on one tiny aspect of my life, as memoirs often do. Throughout my life, since kindergarten, I've known someone named Matthew. Tracking that name was the focus of the piece. As I re-read the words as submitted on October 28, 1999, I realized that I was an idiot for admitting that stuff.

And a coward because I wouldn't be so bold to do that today.

I intended to rewrite the piece to have critiqued by my writing group. I'm one of those "I promise to bring something someday" people. Someday last happened ages ago and is peeping around the corner at me. Again.

Ever since I cleaned files and found this memoir, I kept thinking, this was a decent piece at the time. I should look at it, spruce it up and bring it.

Dear god I just admitted to the entire internet that I haven't learned anything since college and I still cheat on my real writing assignments. That's it, my cover is blown.

As I read, it bothered me that the twenty-something that had the courage to write that and share it in a rather intimate college classroom setting, didn't make the transition to the almost thirty-something that I am now. Isn't the past part of us supposed to come along for the future?

As I read, it bothered me that I knew exactly what the Hammer, as we fondly call one member, would say. I propose truths, but give no evidence of truth. I tell the effect of a Matthew, but do not show what transpired.

As I read, it bothered me that I came across as a slut in one part, when, in fact, I was confused and nothing transpired because of my confusion.

As I read, it bothered me that I waited so long to admit that I was scared to write about my experiences truthfully. Instead, I drew upon the experiences of others to characterize the people who dwell in my head and seldom live on paper.

As I read, it bothered me that I might not actually be cut out to be a writer as I want to be.

I don't know if I'll share the piece at the next meeting. I don't know if I'll revise the piece with the intent to share. What I'd like to do is give voice to the part of me that had the courage to yell "LIAR" and figure out how to use that voice when writing to give life to those people dwelling in my head.

To write honestly.