This is a Good Book Thursday, December 31, 2020

Welp, this is the last day of this did-you-get-the-number-of-that-truck-that-hit-us-and-then-backed-up-and-ran-over-us-again-several-times-freaking year. As Dave Barry said, I used to think some of my years were the nadir (my major-relationship collapse/abortion/diagnosis of stage 3 cancer summer springs to mind) but now I have a baseline for all eternity. Of course that’s what I thought about the summer of ’83, too, so please god, let this be the low point in years. One of the redeeming factors: books. Lots and lots of very good books.

This week it was My Girls, Todd Fisher’s memoir of his life with Debbie and Carrie, a re-read of Loretta Chase’s Last Night’s Scandal, and the fantastic Antiquarian Sticker Book. But if I look back at the whole year, I think the best book memories are the new writers I discovered, the ones I can re-read over and over and be enthralled each time: Mhairi MacFarlane (If I’d Never Met You), Casey McQuiston (Red, White, and Royal Blue), Sarina Bowen (The Year We Fell Down), Alexis Hall(Boyfriend Material), Naomi Novik (A Deadly Education), and ohmygod Martha Wells (I will buy Murderbot books as soon as they’re published forever). I know a lot of those are not new authors, but they were new to me and made me very happy.

So what good book did you read this week? What were your faves this year (this no-good, horrible, very bad year)?

Oh, and Happy New Year! (Just read until it’s 2021. And drink, but mostly read.)

Working Wednesday, December 30, 2020

It’s New Year’s Eve Eve and I’m thinking about rearranging my entire house. That’s my work for this week, reconfiguring a small cottage. At first I thought, “That’s insane,” but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s a brilliant idea. Last year was such a mess that I really don’t think tidying up the place is the answer. Burn it down may be going to far, but rip it all up and look at it in new way seems like a tangible metaphor for the rest of my life. That’s my plan anyway.

What did you do this week?

Random 2020

So here we are in the last three days of the year that was so bad it killed 300,000 (and still counting) people in America alone. I’m not sure what I’m expecting to happen three days from now aside from a huge psychological sigh of relief. It’s January 20 I’m really aiming for, when the Secret Service dumps Donald Trump outside the gates of the White House and let’s the real world have at him. Fake news, my ass, here comes the Southern District of New York, Donald, and they have some questions.

So what have I learned this year? Continue reading

Happiness is a New Journal

Every spring, I kick myself for not starting a journal at the beginning of January, and then I remember I’ve been doing this blog for fourteen (?) years and that’s kind of like journaling, although I don’t publish the dark side of my life because who needs that? and besides I’m trying to project an air of competence and calm here, not scream into the night in despair and longing.

Where was I? Oh, right, happiness.

So I decided this week that since 2020 was such a cesspit, I’m throwing all of it out. Well, not the stuff I was writing, but the baggage that comes with it, the growing certainty that I’m a shallow mediocre writer, and the even stronger certainty that this cottage that I love is going to fall in on my head and kill me. Story of my life: Love gone wrong.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, reboot of my life through journaling. Continue reading

Argh Author: Kay Keppler’s Skirting Danger

Kay Keppler has a new story out: Skirting Danger.

Suspended for a hunch gone wrong, CIA language analyst Phoebe Renfrew is desperate to get her job back. But when she uncovers a terrorist plot at a Las Vegas start-up owned by famed ex-quarterback Chase Bonaventure, no one will listen. Can Phoebe get Chase on her side—and thwart international disaster—before the All-Elvis Revue sings “Jailhouse Rock”?

See more about Kay’s books at her website:

To buy Skirting Danger, see:

‎Skirting Danger on Apple Books

Skirting Danger (Chasing the CIA Book 1) – Kindle edition by Keppler, Kay. Contemporary Romance Kindle eBooks @

This is a Good Book Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020

This week I re-read a lot because I’m looking for stability and safety. Tried some samples, but they all had the hero smirking and I just cannot. Went back and read A Deadly Education because I wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered. It was, it’s brilliant. Remembered a book I’d read awhile ago that started out great–members of a small high school’s senior class are dying mysteriously–until it ended with the heroine alone left to tell the tale, sitting on her porch watching the sun go down (come up?) and waiting for her own inevitable death, never understanding WTF was happening. Or maybe she did and I just missed it. One of those books you need brain bleach for, not because it’s gross or horrifying but just because it’s so damn depressing. That’s fine, just give me a head’s up in the blurb so I don’t read it, although now that I come to think about it, “This book is confusing and depressing as hell” is probably not a good blurb.

You’re safe with A Deadly Education, though. Some people die, but it’s in a good cause, you know what’s going on, and Good Wins. Also, Good is bitchy and funny and angry as hell, my kind of protagonist.

What did you read this week?

Working Wednesday, December 23, 2020

I’m still working on convincing Emily to be an indoor cat–two failed attempts to get her locked inside–and ignoring Christmas because I am just not in the mood. I think I’ll be a Druid this year. They celebrate the solstice, right? That’s over, so I’m good.

What did you work on this week? Sanity? That’s my big project for the rest of 2020, simple sanity.

Tropes, A Defense Of

So I fell down a black hole there for awhile (past two weeks, sorry about that) and survived on Diet Coke and Vernors and a LOT of romance novels. So now I have Thoughts. I wrote a whole post on “smirk,” and then realized I was just repeating myself–“Damn you, writers who don’t bother to know the precise meanings of words, get off of my lawn Kindle!”–and nobody needs that. Then I started thinking about tropes.

A trope is “the use of figurative language, via word, phrase or an image, for artistic effect such as using a figure of speech.” (Thank you, Wikipedia.). That’s the definition I learned doing my lit degrees. But “The word trope has also come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.” And in fact, the Merriam Webster Thesaurus gives as equivalents “banality, bromide, chestnut, cliché, commonplace, groaner, homily,” and several more tsking equivalents.

I disagree. Continue reading