Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Go Shopping . . . NOW!!!!

People, people, people!!!!!

Good news running right now - Holly Lisle's "Talyn" has just hit the bookstores in paperback!

In case you've forgotten, I did my first (and only) online book review of this book a while back, thanks to Holly sending me an ARC of it. Let me be very clear on this folks: THIS IS THE BEST NOVEL I HAVE READ IN A VERRRRRRYYYY LONG TIME! This is one of the most remarkable, and believable, fantasy worlds I've ever had the pleasure to wander through. Trust me, you will LOVE this book. It is a powerful story. I was just at Holly's site and if this print run doesn't sell well, then the series may not make it to the third novel. That would be tragic beyond words. Her novels of Korre are tales in the caliber of Tolkien, Herbert, Martin, and Jordan . . . they have a breadth and depth that is staggering.

Please (for the sake of my inner reader, here!) PLEASE, go out and buy this book right away. The first month's sales are what will make the difference on future novels (click here to find out why). Trust me on this, it is the best coupla bucks you're gonna spend this year. Looking for a GREAT Christmas gift for someone who reads? This is the best book on the stands right now. Best one in the last decade, to be honest. If you like strong women characters with real emotions and a butt-load of common sense . . . "Talyn" is the book to buy.

Don't let this masterwork fade out, tell everyone you know about it . . . link to it on your site . . . shout it from the rooftop . . . get a "Talyn" tattoo on your forehead . . . ya' know: whatever it takes. :-)


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Taters and Such

Survived the weekend outdoors nicely, thanks.

The campout went really well, much fun was had by all. I got to cook me some turkeys over coals, deep-fried, and even one hanging inside a foil "box oven" (Yea, let's have the vegetarian cook the birds. Make sense, right?) It was a lot of fun though. Had to get creative with one of the birds I was supposed to fry. It was still frozen so that was not a viable option. (word of warning: NEVER try to deep fry a frozen bird, the oil will explode everywhere!) So we created a new category of bird called "Deconstructed Turkey". This entailed, hacking the bird into component pieces (legs, thighs, wings & splitting the breast) We wrapped each of these in foil, along with some onions and spices, threw them on the hot coals for about an hour and THEN took them out and moved them to the fryer for 20 or so minutes to finish them off. They were a really big hit. Folks loved the taste. (who knew?) The absolute, without question, unanimously elected, most marvelously wonderful, super-extra delicious treat of the whole day however: was our deep-fried tater skins. What is this you ask? Read and learn, my friends!

When you peel the potatoes this Thursday for your feast, do not throw them away! Instead, peel directly onto a good size sheet of foil, then dice up an onion (or two if you've a lage pile of skins) finely, and mix them in with the potato peelings. Toss on a touch of pepper and mix it all by hand. Fold up the foil and put the whole thing to the side for a few hours to meld the flavors. If you're deep frying the birds, then after they're done, take the skins and drop them (two hands full at a time - no more!) into the remaining grease. They cook up crispy in about 10 seconds and you remove them with a slotted spoon onto a cardboard box lined with newspapaer (or, ya' know: a plate with paper towels if you're not a savage like us!) Sprinkle HEAVILY with salt and repeat, tossing each layer of skins on top of the previous and dousing HEAVILY with the salt. When they're all cooked, dig in! For those of you not frying the bird, you could do this in a skillet with a few inches of oil -or an interior french frying thingy- just make sure it's super hot (400+ deg.) before you add in the skins. We use this as our treat for the "cooks". We don't share this with the guests, and we devour them as quickly as possible! We scarfed thirty pounds of skins in under five minutes. I'm telling ya: greatest snack on the planet! Think potato chips x 10, on the flavor scale!

In the end, we made seven birds, potatoes, yams, stuffing, veggies, corn bread, cranberry dressing, gravy, pies, cakes, cookies, hot apple cider and a few other odds and ends - in the woods, from scratch (mostly), and served over 100 people. The food was piping hot, tasted great, and afterward the boys put on a campfire and show for the guests as they enjoyed dessert. The boys done real good, didn't they Fred?

No writing this weekend at all. I WAS feeling pretty crappy by the time we got back on Sunday so I crashed that night, and last night as well. I'll catch up with a few big days though. That graph up top is DEFINITELY wrong! I am way the hell behind and I'm gonna have to really bust my hump to catch up if I wana finish my 50k this year. Wish me luck! Anyway, I'm off to write . . .


Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Update

Friday, and I am fighting off a nasty head cold that The Wife was kind enough to share with me. (ain't she a peach?) The best part of course is that I am camping this weekend. Nothing like sleeping out in damp, cold, air to really lock those sinuses down good and tight! It's our annual Boy Scout Thanksgiving Feast weekend. The Troop heads out tonight, sets up camp, and tomorrow we begin cooking (rustic style!) for what usually amounts to about fifty or so guests + the boys and leaders . . . say about 100 folks total. We use dutch ovens, box ovens, open fires and we deep-fry us some turkeys! We cook everything from scratch (mostly) and do it without ovens, microwaves, or electric can openers. You'd be amazed at how good it usually turns out. The boys (with a touch of supervision) can actually be pretty decent cooks. Following the feast, the boys build a large campfire and put on skits and songs to entertain their guests while they feast on all the pies, cobblers and other sundry desserts the boys supply. Sound corny and homespun? Well, maybe it is, but the boys put a lot of effort into it and it's a hell of a lot of fun!

Writing - Somehow, I screwed myself on Nano. (I think) I've been watching my little counter on the top of this page to keep track of how I was doing but I think it's wrong. It says I'm actually ahead in my word count but I'm pretty sure I'm behind by about 5K words. The weekend is shot already so I'll really have to kick it into high gear to make the 50K goal by the 30th. Tough, but not impossible. The novel I'm doing this year is an interesting one to write. It has two main characters who are leading parallel lives on opposite sides of the world. Of course, just for fun, one of them is a person and the other an elephant. Talk about shifting POV! It's going pretty well so far, though I know there's a lot of words going in, that will be cut later. That's the only real problem I see with NaNo . . . it's great for getting you in the writer's mindset of regular work but man, can you put down some extraneous verbage while doing it! So it goes. Anyway, gotta run. I'll be back next week to let you know how the weekend goes . . . and IF I make any progress on the book!


Monday, November 13, 2006

Summing Up

Hello, all!

Sorry for the missing days - NaNo and a VERY crzy week took all my time. We had somewhere to go every single night last week. It was ridiculous! I've managed to keep up with Nano, thatnks to a handful of 4,000+ word sessions so I'm still on track there. This weekend was also busy but entertaining so I won't complain (too much!) Friday night, The Wife went to a wake for the father of a co-worker. It was raining and in a very unpleasant area, so I drove her there. The Boy and I hung out in the min-van (yes, I drive one of those hell-beast vehicles) while she paid her respects. I got some work done on the novel (gotta love laptops!) and The Boy watched a DVD. GOt home just in time to watch the new BSG.

Saturday, running about all day with The Wife, while The Boy went to a Bar Mitzvah. Sat. night, we went to a local theater performance of the musical "1776", a personal favorite for both me and The Boy. Show was really well done and we stopped for a great dinner in a nice little restaurrant that we will definitely be returning to. Hard part of the night was to keep The Boy (okay, and ME!) from singing along with the show! Great family night!

Sunday, The BOy and his girlfriend wanted to go to the movies but they needed a ride and The Wife (overprotective oman that she is!) wouldn't let them go without adult escort so we went to see "The Santa Clause III". Not exactly what you'd call a great film. Had more fun watching the coming attractions actually. The Wife is dying to see "Happy Feet" (the dancing penguins?) with Robin Williams. That is the funniest man on the planet and I thought she was gonna pee her pants just watching the preview. Hopefully, it's not a case of showing the only funny scenes for the trailer . . .

Got hom in time to have some Chinese food for dinner and watch my Giants get their asses handed to them by Da' Bears. (sigh - me no happy!) Tonight: "Heroes" is on - a MUST watch for everone. Put it on (9:00 on NBC) Trust me on this, you'll love it! Ah well, the day ends and I gotta bail. Talk to you soon.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We, the People

I’m taking some important time away from NaNo today because I have a confession to make. I’m a closet patriot and a voting geek.

When elections roll around I always vote. I’ve heard the arguments my whole life about how I’m wasting my time and how my vote won’t count for anything. (Believe me, my old man swore both parties were in collusion to screw him over personally!) I grew up on a diet of corruption, mistrust, and hatred of the government. Some of my earliest memories are of my old man watching the Watergate Hearings and cursing up a blue streak at the television. Nightly, my family watched the news and I saw the deadly farce of Vietnam play across the screen. I sat in gas lines, every other day, during a made-up “oil crisis”. I’ve lived my life in the shadows of Iran-Contra, The Cold War, Desert Storm, and Slick Willie getting a hummer from a pudgy intern. I’ve seen more corruption and vileness in my government than you could shake a stick at and you know what?

I still love it.

Last night the people of this nation made a statement. We made a major change in the structure of our government. Now, some folks reading may hate that change (I do not!) but here’s the thing that you need to keep in mind: WE made that change. Not some charismatic lunatic with a gun and a few hundred maniacs at his back. Not some multi-national conglomerate who put forth its giant hand to install its own puppet players into power. WE ,THE PEOPLE (great words, eh?) We made the choices of who would lead and we did it without violence, without revolution, or insurrection. We did it as the men who first assembled us under those amazing words: “We, the people . . .” meant us to. We made our decisions as a unified people. We chose those we felt best expressed our own personal values to represent us and we did it simply by showing up and voting. If that is not the height of human civilization, I don’t know what is.

In my head I can still hear my father telling me what a waste of time voting is. I could recite for you his hour-long litany of disgust with politicians and firm belief that the voters had nothing to do with who garnered power. I didn’t agree with him then and I sure as hell don’t agree with him now. I vote. Every chance I get: I vote. I take it as a very serious responsibility and I believe that every vote counts. If you voted yesterday, I want to say: “Thank You!” Thanks for doing your part in making this nation run. Thanks for putting forth your honest opinion (whether I agree with it or not!) and being someone I’m proud to stand beside as a citizen of the United States. Thank you for being a vital part of:

WE, THE PEOPLE . . . of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Quick Note


Quick progress report - missed writing on Sunday & only time for a few hundred words last night but I'm still (slightly) ahead of the game on NaNo. Had to change my graph at the top of the page cuz the one I had never seemed to work (on my browser at least). Work is crazy busy (of course!) and a lot of running at home so postings may be sparse.

Gotta run.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Circle of Life

NaNo is now in full swing! I'm off to a really good start (check out them numbers on the counter!) Been writing at lunch yesterday and today. I'm hoping to get some more time in tonight at home but we'll see how that works out. Last two nights were a lot of running around (Halloween + a vet appointment last night) The new novel, which I'm calling "Tears" for now is off to a good start, I think. I uploaded the first 1,000 words or so to my NaNo profile (JaCop) so anyone who wants to take a peak at it, feel free.

Halloween night was interesting. The Boy has a new "lady friend" (his first) that he invited over to go trick-or-treating with him and his buddies. She seems like a very nice young lady, and pretty cute too. The Wife is not sure she's ready for this though. The idea that her "baby" has a girlfriend is not going down smoothly. I give her credit though, she's handling it well (ya' know: on the outside!) but she's not thrilled. The Boy is taking her (the girlfriend, not The Wife!) to a dance this weekend, which I guess counts as his first formal-type date. It's pretty damn bizarre to think he's old enough to be interested in girls but I was thinking about it last night and I was exactly the same age as he is now when "the madness" first hit me. My advice to him:

"Run, boy! Run fast as ya' can and never look back! If they sinks their claws in ya'. . . ya're don fer life!"

Well . . . maybe that ain't what I said, but it was something like that, I'm sure. Actually, The Boy is a polite young man with a good head on his shoulders and I imagine he's gonna do just fine with a girlfriend. As long as he remembers that school and responsibilities come first there won't be any problems (and I won't have to kill him!)

I imagine there are gonna be some gaps in my posting this month (I imagine ther's a lot of that going on) because of NaNo. When I'm faced with the choice of writing the blog or doing the novel, I'm gonna have to go with the novel. The good thing is, the tickers at the top of the page'll keep moving so you'll know I'm not dead or anything, even if you don't hear from me for a few days.