This is a Good Book Thursday.

. I’m feeling cranky. (I know, what else is new?). Bob just told me that three million people are traveling for the holiday (I have no idea how he knows this, but I definitely believe it) because evidently they all want death for Christmas. Mona’s not feeling well, which means I have to get a vet appointment on a holiday week. And the only romances showing up on BookBub are either alpha billionaire werewolves or Christmas stories with lots of sugar (both confectionary and verbal). I did read a good book last week: It Ended Badly, the story of the thirteen worst (according to author Jennifer Wright) break-ups in history. Henry VIII gets two–Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard–but Nero’s in there, too. The only one I couldn’t read was Oscar Wilde. That one is just heartbreaking. Also, Norman Mailer was a terrible person.

What did you read this week? (Also Happy Thanksgiving, American Argh.)

Working Wednesday, November 25, 2020

I’ve been worthless for most of November, but I have BIG PLANS to work in December. BIG PLANS. Also, Bob and I have decided to take some time off from HWSWAA for lack of interesting content. (Do not say we could have done that a couple of weeks ago, please. We know.)

What have you been doing the past two weeks? (Sorry about blowing off last week, I was busy doing . . . uh, nothing. Note to self: Improve blog skills.)

Happiness is a Fat-Assed Raccoon

Fat-Ass has won. He (she?)showed up again last night–Emily hasn’t for three days, I’m worried–and somehow managed to climb over piles of books and papers to reach the bag of cat food, toppling it and him onto the floor, after which he shrieked with rage and left, never to return. So far. It was the first time I’d laughed in weeks or at least it felt like it. And now I’m kind of hoping he comes back tonight. He went to all that trouble to spill a pound of cat food on my workroom floor, he should at least reap some kind of reward. Also, since Emily has evidently been adopted by someone else–I refuse to believe anything horrible–Fat-Ass may be my new pet. I have to admit an affection for his little bandit face as it peers up at the red lights of the camera, probably wondering “What is that thing?” and “Can I eat it?”

Happiness is screwball wildlife.

Note: He came back and brought a friend, so our relationship is over. If he’s going to see other people . . .

What made you happy this week?

ETA: And Emily came back. SO happy that she’s all right. Must trap her inside the house this week because it’s going to get cold here. Also because there are too damn many predators out there after a disabled stray cat.

HWSWA: Talking About Characters in Shane and the Red Wedding

This week at HWSWA we talked about Bob’s cast of characters in Shane and the Red Wedding. One of the hardest things to do in fiction is to corral your cast so that they and their actions make sense on both the surface level and the deeper, unstated, thematic level. So I asked a lot of questions and tried not to make too many suggestions (HA!) because it’s Bob’s book, not mine. Fortunately, he’s good at ignoring me.

HWSWA: More Brainstorming Anna

Anna’s plot was all over the place so we talked it through in the latest HWSWA. Then Bob sent me a long doc in e-mail spitballing the simplified plot and I annotated it and sent it back and he annotated it and I did a couple of diagrams and things are better now. Still not great plotting but so much better. The best thing about all of this is that all the what-the-hell-did-I-write-this-for scenes now are crucial. The Girls win again.

Tomorrow we’re talking about romance in Bob’s book. We’ll probably both have to drink for that one.

Happiness is Turkey Recipes

I’m not a fan of turkey in general, but once a year here in America it’s everywhere. Christmas has a variety of food traditions but for Thanksgiving, it’s turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. It’s the law, unwritten but still firm. So every year about this time, our media is full of a thousand ways to cook a turkey, a thousand things to do with leftover turkey, a thousand videos of exploding deep fried turkeys setting garages on fire, not to mention the President pardoning a turkey, although who knows how that’s going to go this year, he’ll probably fire it. It’s our solstice, or at least our prelude to the solstice that’s going to show up three weeks later with the longest night of the year, followed by the most obnoxious holiday of the year, followed by a new year that’s bound to be better than the last because dear God . . . It’s the cycle, I’m talking about. Which is why I read all the turkey recipes with joy even if I’ll never make another one–there are other ways to make gravy which is what this is all about for me–because it means that last cycle to a new and better time is starting.

So all the turkey news makes me happy. What made you happy this week?

This is a Good Book Thursday, November 12, 2020

So I’ve been rereading Murderbot because I’m still imploding over the election and the aftermath, but I did get one new hit of narrative, not a book, a movie I had heard a lot of great things about and was still dumbfounded by when I saw it: Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse. Freaking amazing. I read some other things, but my brain is full of exploding dimensions and spider heroes, so really, if you haven’t, you should watch this.