30 December 2011

My Books of 2011

Here's my reading list for 2011. Not including whatever book I start tomorrow, but I likely won't finish one tomorrow so I think it's not too premature to post my list. I read 8 more books than the previous year which surprised me. I've only been keeping track the past couple years. I know I had a phase of one week when I was younger, but now we have the internet and other distractions.

I know that non-fiction slows me down because it just doesn't keep me coming back for more and often I am reading it at the behest of someone or some project and it feel obligatory not relaxing. I do force myself to read it because I know I should at times as well. I prefer to use reading as a relaxation though and not to "better myself."

I read a couple travelogues which I know technically are nonfiction but they flow for me like fiction. A good one is one of my favorite things to read.  I tend to enjoy them more and read them faster if they are humorous. So in this category for 2011: The Narrow Dog to Carcassonne wins. Delightful.

It's hard to pick a favorite in the fiction category because when I look at the titles they each say something different to me about the stories and then where I was myself at that time last year. I slept in more beds than I can count (with only one person I might add) so life was a bit topsy turvey last year. Historic favorite: A monstrous Regiment of Women. Really liked Down River and The Case of the Missing Servant opened up a new world of Indian humor and mystery. Take the Monkeys and Run was the best humorous mystery I read this year. Death of a Cozy Writer feels like the beginning of a new favorite author find.

1 A monstrous Regiment of Women, Laurie B King
2 The art of deception, Ridley Pearson
3 Telling Yourself the Truth by Backus and Champion, finished in 2011
4 Expectations and Burnout, Women Surviving the Great Commission, by Eenigenburg & Bliss, finished in 2011
5 Thrilled to Death, How the Endless Pursuit of Pleasure is Leaving us Numb, by Archibald Hart
6 - 12 'Christian' Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy: Relief from False Assumptions, by Cloud and Townsend
7 Desert Lost, Betty Webb
8 Whose Body? Dorothy L. Sayers
9 The Rosewood Casket, Sharon McCrumb
10 A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller
11 Freedom from Tyranny of the Urgent, Charles Hummel
12 Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy
13 Brush with Death, an art lovers mystery, by Hailey Lind 
14 Death on Demand, Carolyn Hart
15 Driving over Lemons, an optimist in Spain, by Chris Stewart
16 Cleopatra, Stacy Schiff
17 Chamomile Mourning, Laura Childs
18 Fire and Ice, Dana Stabenow
19 Rikki Tikki Tavi, Kipling
20 Digital Disciple, Adam Thomas
21 The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie
22 The Meeting of the Waters: 7 Global Currents that Will propel the Future Church. Fritz Kling
23 Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott
24 Think Twice, Lisa Scottaline
25 Down River, John Hart
26 Narrow Dog to Carcassonne, Terry Derrington
27 Hemingway Cutthroat, MIchael Atkinson
28 How to Write Killer Fiction, Carolyn Wheat
29 Say it With Poison, Ann Granger
30 The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence.
31 Straight, Dick Francis
32 The Case of the Missing Servant, Tarquin Hall, Vishi Puri mystery set in India.
33 Murphy's Law, Rhys Bowen
34 Take the Monkeys and Run, Karen Cantwell
35 Brett Battles, The Cleaner
36 The Killing Hour, Lisa Gardner, kidnapper-killer using odd environments
37 The Summer Snow, Rebecca Pawel, post Spanish Civil War
38 Stalker, Faye Kellerman, police procedural. Peter Decker lieutenant
39 Woman to Woman, Sharing Jesus with a Muslim Friend by Joy Loewen (Jan 1, 2010)
40 Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane
41 Missing Persons, Clare O'Donohue
42 Still Life: An inspector Gamache Novel, Louise Penny
43 Last Breath, Michael Prescott
44 Shameless Promotion for Brazen Huzzies, by Roberta Isleib, ed.
45. Death of a Cozy Writer, G.M. Malliet
46. Retirement can be Murder, Phil Edwards

12 December 2011

Forged Doctor's Note, funny news item.

What cheek! I love bizarre stories where criminals go beyond the bounds. Well, they go beyond anyway or they wouldn't be criminals.

This lady forges a prescription and writes a bad check -- I'm assuming for the drugs. She gets busted and doesn't fight it. No contest.

She shows up the day of her sentencing with a note from her doctor that says it should be delayed. The DA - gotta hand it to him - calls the doctor to verify. Another forgery.

When the judge reports all this in the court room, the woman collapses. Really? If it were me, I would have poked her with my toe and been like whatever. Carry her away to jail.

But our government has to err on the side of safety, so they took her to the hospital and rescheduled the sentencing.

Crooks never cease to amaze me what they will try or say. Watching Cops is always flabbergasting what people say and they expect us all to believe it. Hilarious.

The Article

09 December 2011

Oil Theft? Really?

I love Massachusetts and especially Boston. I've visited a friend who lives there probably 20 times. There's a funny gruff friendliness and sarcasm that runs through the general public when you're standing in line or in a public place. Love it! There's the mix of old style, old family Irish and Italian and then the more recent immigrants that keep the region spicey and interesting. So this article sparked my imagination about uncaught crooks stealiing of all things USED COOKING OIL. So this triggers my imagination. First of all I had a brief two week experience with restaurant cooking oil. It involved frying tortilla chips and sopapillas and attempting to clean up. I'm telling you grease was oozing out of every pore and dripping out of my hair by the time I'd spent a few hours doing this. So I'm trying to imagine the experience of stealing the USED cooking oil. This seems like a slippery, smelly, messy experience. Ripe for a comedy scene in a movie. Another thought that comes to mind -- I can't imagine you just dump this stuff in your furnace or car. Doesn't it have to be processed? So do you take home say 500 gallons of greasy goo and have to stew it or strain it or something? Do you do this in your garage? In the end is the effort truly worth the $1,000 that MAYBE you saved? Seems like a lot of work, stink, and effort for what is not exactly a grand haul. I don't imagine there will be a follow up article if they ever catch the culprits but I'd be curious to see the industrious thieves. I wonder if they will smell like old grease. What if they caught them because of the smell of processing or cleaning it?

03 December 2011

Unpacking my blog

I've been reading about promoting a book and OF COURSE a blog is an essential tool. This one started as a place to account a new side of life living in a foreign country, but over the years there's been all kinds of themes here.

The advice about promoting a books says your blog shouldn't be about writing (unless that's your audience) but should be about life, and you,  or themes in your book and other things you enjoy. It's for people to get to know the author and also themes from the stories.

So my nattering on about writing isn't the ideal. I'm sure I'll continue to put an update in here now and then, but it's also a good writing challenge to make me get off the writing theme and write on other subjects. The thing is I'm not sure what else interests me that would get people jazzed about reading my blog.

I like weird news bits like one piece of a Florida 90 year old who shot her neighbor. She thought they were an item, but he was 50 and had no idea. In my opinion, Florida has some of the weirdest news bits and that's why my Work In Progress (WIP) is set in Florida. Lots of potential for funny bits.

I'm intrigued by crime stories too. That's kinda weird to blog about all the time.
Other things I like:
• food
• decor
• reading (oops doe that just go back to writing, though?
• dogs
• Spain (where I'm living now)

My book that is in editing now and will be the first to appear on Kindle and other ereaders hopefully near you next year is set in Africa. There's some weird news stories out there involving wild animals and parks in Africa too. I suppose if I connected to those we could start "buzzing" about the book - Killed in Kruger.  I say "we" because it will take all of us to start a buzz.

I'm open to input here, if anyone has suggestions. I gotta get jazzy!