Random observations

This morning was the amazing sight of Venus hanging below the crescent moon as if it were a diamond on a very fancy necklace. I tried to get a picture but my settings were all wrong, and everything came out looking like two comets crashing into the planet, which was cool and all, but not exactly what was going on.

I was also distracted by the fact that someone had smeared blood on my husband’s truck. We called the cops, but seriously, gross. We aren’t sure what happened. We heard the dog bark around 12:30 last night, but since she has the same response to possums and raccoons, we don’t take her seriously. Maybe we should, perhaps? Anyway, the cops were unfazed, like blood-smeared trucks happen all the time, but you know, may they should have been a bit more curious? I would be. There weren’t any bodies lying around that we could see.

Horsebackriding tonight was great. Mr. Dees was ornery and I was trying to get him to canter depart with more panache than just trottrottrottrot really really really fast until he finally gets going. We maybe got it a little bit but not really. Well, it’s something to work on next time. I feel bad for him too because by the time it’s my turn to ride the poor guy has already been out there for an hour. I cut my lessons short because of that. If it’s only 40 minutes instead of an hour, I’m cool with that. I am also tired of the round pen and would like to move into the big ring at some point. I may talk to the instructors for next week.

TUMB is coming along! The second draft is almost finished and ready to go to first readers at the end of the month. It’s so exciting to see it come together. I feel really good about this, which I hope is not going to jinx matters. But it’s making me happy and for now, that’s what it’s all about. When it’s time to market this one, then I’ll start worrying.

Research for GWIII is also happening. I don’t really outline, but I keep it the sequence of events in my head, and the sequence is … well, sequencing. I’ve been doing some very fun research for this one and don’t want to say too much about it right now, but the reading has been excellent. Yeah, the Internet is fine, but you know what — actual books, that have been peer-reviewed and edited are much better source material.

Randomness –catching up

Planted the last of theĀ  basil. The basil did surprisingly well this summer. The rest of the herbs not so much. But that’s okay — I love pesto far more than anyone should, so if only one herb was gonna survive, the right one did. Also on the domestic front, made granola from Mark Bittman’s recipe. I broke my own rule against using the oven when it’s 100 degrees out, but it was worth it.

Finally bought my mom the updated Scrabble dictionary. She had a 1970s edition that didn’t even have “zine” or “zin.” I ask you, how am I supposed to win at Scrabble without being able to use “zin?” It’s on, Mom!

I read one of the Navy SEALS meet the Vikings books by Sandra Hill. I am sad. It was not what I was hoping for. I wonder now if I have to write the books that I want to read? It worked for Karen Joy Fowler in “The Jane Austen Book Club.” (Obviously, I can’t write SEALS and Vikings because Hill pretty much owns the category, but still.)

Austin, Texas, is a Stella d’Oro free zone or something, so when I went to Connecticut I bought a couple of packages to remind me of the cookies of my youth. Well, my sister just sent me a care package of Stella d’Oro! Woo-hoo! We have the anisette cookies, and the madeleine-like ones, and these little fudge ones that I didn’t even know existed. What with the heat and the lack of Stella d’Oro, Austin was really losing its remaining cachet.

Sunday miscellany

Saturday’s book signing was swell. Barnes & Noble had me front and center. Several of my friends and family stopped by and I also sold a handful of books to other folks in the store. I spoke with aspiring writers, one of whom was astonished to hear about the vast writing community in Austin (seriously, you can’t swing a cat without hitting a writer). He was taking creative writing courses as Southwestern University up in Georgetown, and I have to say, what are they teaching kids up there these days? He hadn’t heard about Texas Writers League, which is one of the biggest writers leagues in the country. How can you train upcoming new writers without letting them know about one of the huge resources in the area? Sheesh.

Sunday we saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This was one of the better Harry Potter installments. Darker, yet with moments of humor, and the kids are becoming better actors. Rupert Grint has the thankless role of the second banana, and he manages it well.

I’ve read all of the books and I only liked the first three. The remaining four were bloated, self-indulgent, and increasingly poorly written. I admire Rowling tremendously for her accomplishment, and I think the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone) is an incredible children’s book, but after Chamber of Secrets and Azkaban, the books all went downhill. I don’t think I even saw the last movie.

One of the things I liked about this one was that the producers and directors have thankfully settled down with the special effects. God, that first movie was so annoying, what with all the flashpowder whiz-bang magic going on. With HBP, the special effects serve the story instead of the other way around. Even though I write fantasy, I don’t like magic (that’s why in Gordath Wood there’s very little of the stuff). Well, it’s not like I don’t like magic, it’s just that I think it gets in the way of a good story. Okay, that’s not it either. Magic just makes things easy, that’s all.