Happiness is Reading a New Book

I’ve been doing a lot of re-reading for comfort lately, but I’ve also read two new books this week, and it’s so good to find brand new stuff that’s really good. One was Susan Eliabeth Phillips new one, Simply the Best, which was simply great. The other was a manuscript from Anne Stuart,Return to Mariposa, which I would talk about but you can’t get it, she’s still rewriting, but once it’s done, you’re gonna want to read it. New books that are good: that’s happiness.

So what made you happy this week?

From a True Story . . .

I did a podcast this week, and the host asked if I’d ever based a character on a real person. I said, “No,” because it’s too limiting, doing that doesn’t let a character breathe on its own. It didn’t occur to me until later that I have stolen dialogue from real life, three times (that I remember). I’ve also stolen T-shirt slogans, but I don’t think that counts. (My fave: “Jesus Is Coming. Look Busy.”) But spoken dialogue? Only three times.

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This is a Good Book Thursday, February 22, 2024

This week, I read Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Simply the Best, and then wrote her an e-mail that included this:

“In other more important news, I finished Simply the Best and loved it. I plan on snarking on my blog about how you wrote a great book just because you wanted to research (aka, eat) chocolate. I was so sure I knew who the murderer was, too, and you got me. Did not see that coming. Anyway, Simply the Best is just more proof that you are simply the best. Still the Queen of the Rom Com, baby, I bow at your feet.”

I had “Still the One” playing in my head while I wrote that because she really is still the best.

What did you read this week that was simply the best?

Working Wednesday, February 21, 2024

So there are different kinds of working, right? Like working on puzzles? At midnight every night (because I’m usually up until 4AM), the NYT and WaPo drop their puzzles. NYT has the high road–Wordle and Connections–and I do those first because those are my faves. The WaPo for On The Record (question about today’s news so I keep up with what’s happening just to win), Keyword (I love that one, anything less than a six is a loss), the mini crossword, the daily crossword, and the Sudoku. That gives me an hour break before I go back to regularly scheduled work. I have my own evaluations–a 1, 2, or 3 in Wordle is a win, a 4 is a tie, a 5 or a 6 is a loss, and a zero is blot on my ancestors–and my own rules of cheating (turn on the mistake alert in the crosswords, but no stopping to look up stuff) and my own rules in general (the easiest sudoku must be solved in Pen mode, no using Pencil mode to get through). But then Peter Blair wrote about his scoring system for Connections on the NYT, and now I must do that, too.

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Collaboration: A Recalibration

In spite of all the off-the-wall State of the Collaboration posts we’ve been doing, most of the time Bob and I are pretty serious in the exchanges we have because we’re both very serious about the books. One of the problems we have is that we’re very, very different in the way that we write, but it’s also one of our strengths. And what we’re doing now, in our eighth book, is recalibrating the process. Well, I’m recalibrating and Bob is being flexible and understanding and patient as all get out. Continue reading

Happiness is Work Shirking

I am really tired of having too much to do. No matter how much I accomplish, I turn around and there’s ten other things I should have been doing. Bob said nobody should write more than four or five hours a day, and I’m not sure I can even do that–brain hurts–but I’ve reached the point where I’ll give four or five hours to work and then I shirk. As in shirking work. I read (very good thing for writers to do.). I crochet (very relaxing, guaranteed to get my fingernails out of the ceiling). I cook (eat or die). And I do not think “I should be working.” I think, “I’m a work shirker, this is part of my job.” I kind of want a shirt that says “Work Shirker.” You know, a work shirker shirt.

Happiness is shirking back your life. What made you happy this week?

This is a Good Book Thursday, February 15, 2024

Because of something Strop said, I have been reading my way through Margery Allingham’s Campion books. Some of them I hadn’t read in decades so I couldn’t remember the murderer; that was fun. Actually, they’re all fun. Mollie’s middle name is Amanda because of Amanda Campion (and because it means “must be loved”).

What did you read that you loved this week?