Monday, June 30, 2008

My Town Monday: Mill Pond Walkway

The Mill Pond in Brighton MI, is part of Ore Creek. On one side is the Imagination Station, a massive play structure. The Tridge crosses the Mill Pond and there's a reason it's call the Tridge and not just a mere bridge. It's a three armed stucture. Two arms merely link the two sides of the Mill Pond. The third heads off to the Mill Pond Walkway.

The walkway heads along the banks of Ore Creek. At the start of the journey, though, there's a side detour. If you look closely in the picture below, you can see a little white building in the background.

That's the Dairy Queen. Luckily the City of Brighton was wise enough to put in an actual paved path the DQ rather than have people just trample over, through, and around whatever might have been in the way. You can't stop people from going to Dairy Queen.

Before the Mill Pond walkway, some teens would actually hop the cemetery fence (bad) just to get their treats.

The Walkway makes it's way down Ore Creek, running behind businessess about a quarter mile.

There are little seat jutting into Ore Creek. Where one might stop, eat their ice cream and watch the wildlife.

Like the albino ducks... that are repopulating quite well at the Mill Pond.

There's also some mighty large fish. I dont know how well this picture will come out, so try clicking for a larger view. It's a massive fish! People do fish off the walkway. It's usually rather quiet.

For better or worse, most of the kids and noise are back at the Imagination Station. Though, I think it's a shame if they never made their way down the Mill Pond Walkway.

Ore Creek sneaks under Grand River Avenue.

And it's at Grand River that the Walkway ends. There is a sidewalk through town, of course, but it's stuck a stark contrast to the quiet of the Walkway. All along, it doesn't feel like you're walking through the main part of Brighton. There's the backsides of business, but it's quiet. You hear birds. Watch the languid flow of Ore Creek. Trees cast dappled shadows on the ground. And there's the smell of a river.

It's almost jarring to come around the last corner on the Walkway to the sound of trucks and cars.

To my surprise, I actually managed to take a picture between the traffic on Grand River. Grand River is one of those main roads that is never wholly empty. Five lanes of impatient traffic.

On the other side of Grand River is the Marsh and Swamps that are part of the rest of Ore Creek. A waterway that is seeing at least a little care and protection.

It's too noisy. I'm going back to where it's quiet.

Travis Erwin is slacking on his own My Town Monday post today, but he's corraling the links for the rest of his entourage. Visit his page for links. And while you're there, read a few of his posts. Aside from being the creator of My Town Monday, he's a funny man and a good storyteller

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Two Good Things

FINALLY!! I finally figured out (part of) the end of a movie before Hubby! I have been waiting and working hard for this for a long, long time.

He's one of those irritating folk that some how figures movies out early. This time, I figured it out FIRST! Okay, well, he figured out the big part. And most of the end. But I figured out one little detail.

But I figured it out before Hubby! I win! I get to do the victory dance! XD

(In case you're wondering, the movie was Fracture. Which was rather good. I was pleased. That doesn't happen often. =)

In other news, Bo's out for revenge. You can slip over to
PowderBurn Flash and maybe say some nice things about "Head for Revenge" to keep on her good side. At least, just don't piss her off. =)

  • Query Results-- 1 rejection, 1 request for partial
  • Novel #2 Progress-- 2800 words
  • Currently Reading: Hallowed Ground by Lori Armstrong
  • Current Song: Capital G by NIN

Thursday, June 26, 2008

People Like to Talk

I'm a quiet person, by nature. A bit shy. Very introverted. Polite.

Until you get to know me, of course. But that's a seperate issue.

But one of the things I've been noticing lately is that people like to talk. To me, often. I'm about as good at making small talk as I am at NOT supergluing my fingers together during a repair. (Still batting a thousand...) But I'm polite, and I have a few stock lines and questions I can ask out of politeness. It's not that I don't want to get to know people, often, I'm just disinterested. Espcially at work-- I go there to do my job and go home.

Though, if I appear interested and receptive, people will talk. About all sorts of things, actually. Being a writer, I'm not wholly against this because it's like eavesdropping out in the open or spying on the neighbors without worrying they might notice the gap in the curtain. If I did those sort of things... ;-)

I love to watch people. And hear things. I live a very boring life, really, so I live vicariously through fiction and through other people. Since many people seem to love sharing their tales, it seems to work out.

The only problem is sometimes, I don't want to listen. Or maybe they invade my personal space.
Oh man, what I would give to have spikes!

And the other interesting thing is that most people don't ask about me. I don't really mind because, in addition to being a quiet person, I'm a fairly private person.

At least I get all sorts of ideas for characters and conflicts and such from the things people have told me. My favorites, though, are the stories that involve sex. I'm naughty that way. ;-)

Shit, look at the stuff I write!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Conundrum of Movie Store Categories

While I understand that it's human nature to categorize, one of the areas that I have severe trouble is in the video store.

Our local Lackluster Video shelves the new releases by title. Which is good for me. Though I have this quirk of starting at the A-side and often have picked my two movies before I get halfway around. Then, with my new releases in hand, it's time to pick my "old" movies, which I get for free if I rent on certain days when the planets are aligned. That doesn't bother me-- I keep pretty good track of planetary alignment and lunar shifts. I do work with high school wolves kids.

It's the organization in the center of the store where the 'old' movies hang out, eating old popcorn and watching the TV monitors that show clips of new releases with ittybittytiny words saying what movie the clip is from. We'll overlook the fact that my glasses are seriously out of focus and I should have called about them about four months weeks ago. Some of the classifications eventually make sense-- like Star Wars under Action. Some seem to stretch just a bit-- like The Number 23 under horror. And some are just absurd-- like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as a comedy. And I thought I had a warped sense of humor.

So this system of categorizing certainly presents a conundrum when I stroll into the movie store. I can usually remember a few recent previews or reviews. And maybe a few movies that I've been wanting to see for a while. So I wander up and down the aisles looking for movies that I not only recall the titles but also have some recollection of whether I thought I wanted to see them, once upon a time. The classifications only make it harder. Is it really a comedy? Or is it one of those dark movies that makes a few 'jokes'.

And where's the section of "based on books" or "have actual plots"? I know that there's a neat website for the former would-be-section, but yeah, like I remember any of those when I go to Lackluster. Especially since Lackluster is located on the return stretch of my driving-- it's a block from home on the right hand side. I stopped only on the way home... and I've actually driven right by (even with the intention to stop!) because I was thinking about being almost home.

What would really be great, though, is if the movie store put in a couple of those kiosks like book stores have where you can find out more about the movie-- maybe get some reviews, compare to other titles, that sort of thing. Then, if I'm looking for something like Kill Bill, I don't have to remember to do/ bring my research with me.

Let's stay far away from how I'm really way too young to be so forgetful.

  • Currently Reading: Hollowed Ground by Lori G. Armstrong
  • Working on: Getting my home computer (aka "Spud") set up the way it was before I traded "old and busted" for "new hotness"
  • Current Song: Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Town Monday: Summer Weather

As a Midwest Town and Michigan town, the weather around Livingston County spans a pretty good spectrum. Usually, it stays pretty mild. Being surrounded by a few large lakes helps take the edge of the weather.

So, for a "typical" summer day like today, it's about 73 degrees--which is right within the range of my optimum operating temperature. My AC doesn't even kick on in weather like this. I'd open the window if my paper-covered office didn't flutter about.

We occaisionally get temperatures shooting into the 90s and sometimes 100s. Being out here where it's still more green than blacktop, it's always a bit cooler in Livingston County than it is in places like Flint, Ann Arbor, or Detroit.

Currently, we've got some sort of hot and cold air collision happening just West of Michigan that's made for some interesting rain and thunderstorms lately.

I stole this picture off the local paper's website because I didn't happen to have my camera when this happened. I'm sure folks have all seen pictures of busted fast food signs-- I know I have. But every other time I saw them, they were from news footage of Kansas or Florida or something. Not in MY town.

No idea what exactly happen to the sign, but a nasty thunderstorm went through the town earlier that morning, making quite a mess of the area. There's still a few broken signs and other debris. Power was out in the center of town all day-- I was working my retail job and it was quite surreal because we were running on generator. But I'm working in recieving unloading trucks, and we had all our lights, power and were otherwise running as normal in our corner of the store. Then I'd turn to go down the hall and it'd be pitch black. Or I'd go to the sales floor where only one out of every tenth light was on. Surreal is the best word for it.
The broken Wendy's sign has been removed, leaving the empty frame. And beneath it, they've got a sign that says "Ouch. Yes, we're still open." I laughed. Even if I am mad that they now only offer fried chicken on their salads instead of the grilled chicken.
Quite a few thunderstorms have rumbled their way through the county lately. Including one that was heading northeast and passed right between Brighton and Howell as Hubby and I drove home the other day. As we're heading down the road, it started raining, then raining HARD, then hailing. Then, we go around a corner and it stops raining. Then, not even an 1/8 of a mile further, we round another corner and it's raining again.
And today. As I was busy at work on the NEW old computer that replaces my old computer (which was suffering dreadfully from narcolepsy) I heard it raining. But, no, because I could see the sunlight glinting off my pretty computer monitor. Though, it sure did sound like it was raining. So I took a peak.
You can see the sun, and the wet ground. It was very much raining. And the sun was shining just a bright as can be.
Of course, I was standing outside with my camera hunting for rainbows. Almost makes me wish Hubby hadn't lost the umbrella by leaving it under a desk at college one day. Except I would never purchase an umbrella.
But once I went back inside as the rain picked up, the rainbow came out. I peeked out the window just to see and there it was in all it's prismatic glory. So I grabbed the camera, ran downstairs, opened the door, turning the camera on as I went. I aimed at the sky, but the rainbow had already faded.
It really is there. Very faint.
I've grown to enjoy summer thunderstorms. I'll admit that I used to be a big scaredy cat when thunderstroms rolled in. But as I've been living much closer to town than I did growing up, I've taken comfort in the proximity of tornado sirens. They tell me when to panic.
So, I finally understand my family's fascination with standing with noses pressed to the window to watch sideways rain and green skies and trees whipping all over the place. In my current residence, I don't even have to worry about the trees. (Scroll back up to the second picture and see just how big the trees are around here. Yeah... I think even the birds scoff at these trees.)
This is summer weather in it's finest in Livingston County. Warm days, a few thunderstorms and rain showers to keep things cool, low humidity, and not much on the itinerary. It all looks great from inside. Where I've happily got most everything back on my computer-- especially my customized version of Word 2003. Yep. All is good.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Half-Starved Book Worm Feasts

For the first time in years... maybe even in a decade, I have time to read. Lots of time. And I've been chewing through books like the half-starved bookworm I am.

I didn't realize quite how much I missed reading. I tried reading on and off the last few years and might get through a book or three during the year. Yes, it's a sad number. But every time I would try to read, I would get distracted by what needed to be done-- whether it was papers to grade, stories to finish writing, chores that I'd put off. Reading was a luxury for a long time.

I've read seven books in that many weeks. And I'm rather enjoying myself. I've read Vicki Hendricks, James M. Cain, Wade Miller, Robert Fate, and Libby Fischer Hellmann. I've even managed to switch my internal editor to a lower level of criticism. I don't know how that happened, but I've manged to just enjoy the story. Kind of like when I go to the movie theatre with Hubby for our yearly, anniversary outing the to the Theatre. I shut off most of my brain and just enjoy the stimulation of my cerbral cortex.

I wish I could say that I'm going to keep this up. I may, through the rest of the summer. But I know that once Fall comes back, I'll be back to reading text books, student papers, and other such fun things.

But for now, I've got another book all ready with my bent bookmark inside the first chapter, waiting to absorb me as the summer moves languidly by on puffy clouds and warm breezes.

Of course, I do my reading in my controlled climate habitat. My current spot is in the old easy chair in the living room. I do have one those big rattan papasan chairs, but since I've been unusually clumsy the last few weeks, I'm a bit concerned that a reach for my drink would end with the 'cereal bowl' chair flipping my flakes. Again.

What's your ideal reading situation?

  • Novel Progress: Querying agents
  • Writing: Dabbling in some ideas for Novel #2
  • Current Song: Kiss off by the Violent Femmes

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Big Books

I've really gotten into reading little books lately. The short, quick little books like Hard Case Crime puts out that you could slip into your back pocket. They take only a day or so to read, if that.

As one of those perpetually busy folks, I certainly like the feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing a book. It takes a lot longer to do that with a big book.

Not only that, I often find myself wondeing how much of the Big Book is really necessary. Perhaps it could be even BETTER if it was pared down to a smaller, tigher size. No meandering.

I know that many readers enjoy the sidetrips and meanderings, the trips to the grocery store or the conversation with the aunt that shows character. And I admit they have their place, but for me that place is limited.

I wouldn't say I get bored easily, though that might be how hubby puts it. I just perfer my stories succinct and efficient.

Don't get me started on three hour movies. Any movie more than an hour and half requires me to bring the laptop into the living room for the nearly-inevitable distraction I suffer.

Every thing does not add to a story. How many times can I see a character get the bowl of cookie dowl ice cream out or call her aunt to bitch to understand this as a part of her character? Me, once. Maybe a second mention, if done breifly. Then, I got it, so, let's get to something interesting-- some new clues, or maybe some sex and violence.

I'm still going to say it's not 'cause I'm bored. It's because I prefer efficiency.

Maybe if I wasn't always so overbooked, I wouldn't feel quite the same way. Yeah. I'm not sure which is less likely-- me not being overbooked or not preferring efficiency.

At least I managed to get my novel written. It helps that it was only 71,000 words. That's all I had time for. ;-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Full Summer Assault on the Senses

The smell of sunblock makes me think of summer, beachs, swimming in the lake. Everytime. It's like a flashback of association.

I've not spent much time at the beach or the pool. Or outdoors really. As I've gotten older, I've become more of a hermit indoor kitten. But the association is there everytime I put on sunblock.

I do pretty good most of the year keeping that pasty indoor look, but summer is tough. Mere driving to work will leave me with a nice trucker's tan by the end of the summer. It's starting to get noticably obvious that I'm lopsided. Even when I don't have my arms together. Even with sunblock.

Nothing says summer like a trucker's tan.

But along with the smell of sunblock, there are other signs of SUMMER. The spring peepers chirping the night away. I love that sound. I'd get home from school at night and stand for a moment in the warm evening air listening, recalling the nights in my end bedroom with the windows open.

There's the warm/cool evening air itself. Warm from the day, but cooling with the sun having slipped below the horizon. My favorite time of day. Especially once I got out of high school and could set my own schedule. I'm nocturnal. It's actually hazzardous to wake me in the morning, or come within a twenty-yard radius. Hubby's had a few close calls.

Watermelon makes me think of summer. Sitting on the porch as a wee one trying to spit the seeds as far as my big brother. I still can't. I can beat him up, now, though, if I had to. =)

I love the big puffy white clouds on summer days. I never saw shapes in the clouds as a kid. Maybe I had defective clouds. But on bright sunny days, we'd watch the clouds' shadows move across the golf course. Blue sky, lush green grass, dandelions. That means summer has arrived.

That's smell, hearing, touch, taste and sight.

Many writers only pick one or two, usually sight. Sometimes sound. Smell is my favorite.

Ever notice the smell of a swamp after the rain. Yeah-- yum. Or the smell of a natural lake. How about that after-storm ozone scent. Or the smell of bar-b-que, which is different from the scent of a bonfire. Smells, like any scent, can conjure images, recollection, and mood.

What smell do you associate with summer?

  • Novel Progress: 1 agent has requested and recieved partial
  • What I should be doing: grad school homework
  • Current Song: Fallin' by Alicia Keyes

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Town Monday: The Imagination Station

When I was little, there was a small playground on the shore of the Mill Pond. It had tall swings, a big slide, and a merry-go-round before those things were contraband. It was sufficient for playing while Mom was milling about the Farmer's Market looking for vegatables. (Oh joy.)

Once the bookstore moved in to one of the shops on the Mill Pond, that had more appeal to me.

Actually, the tall white thing that looks nice for climbing is just a piece of art. A scultpure purchased by the city the same time as the Nake Guy. I've never spotted a kid climbing it, but I surely would have. Seems like they should have picked something that didn't look like playground equpiment next to the Imagination Station.

Okay, without further ado, the Imganation Station is a 10,000 square foot wooden play structure.

It has towers, tunnels, several slides, swings, a zip line, steering wheelse, a wooden Caterpillar, climbing ropes, and more.

10,000 square feet of playing, climbing, swinging fun. The only downside is it's often crowded. But I've been there more than a few times during twilight hours to run and romp. When I won't knock over kids.

One evening when we were just dating, Hubby and I went out to the Imagination Station-- one of the first signs he had of my ... eccentricities. We played tag. Being more than 3.5 feet tall, I would have been better suited to staying on the tops of the towers where the sky's the limit. Instead, I decided I'd hide in one the dark lower levels. No more than a few feet down, I nailed my head on a support board. The stars came out... and I didn't really want to play anymore.

It gets better-- as we were leaving, a cop came roaming around to make sure that, ah, no one was in the park after it closes at 10pm. It was 11 or 12 at the time. Hubby still makes mention that this encounter with the local police should have been a warning sign to him that I was trouble. =)

Visit Travis Erwin for other My Town Monday posts.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Look who's back to making trouble!

Yep-- another Bo Fexler story has made it's appearance in the dark alleys of the internet. Over at Yellow Mama is the story "Medium Well."

It was written with the Medium of Murder contest in mind, but I didn't make the cut. I wonder how many other authors used Medium in the context of cooked meat? Or in this case, a burnt body.

I liked the case-- an unidentified burnt man, but it was certainly a trick to come up with a reason for private eye Bo Fexler to investigate. So, I had some wealthy, eccentric old man hire her. It seems like a cop out, but it works all right, I think.

And the picture Yellow Mama has for it is cool-- though I don't know how it is the Bo never shows up as a blond. Honey blond, pale skin, and eyes like emeralds-- deep green, cold, and hard. Plus curves that are dangerous. Oh well, I still get a kick out of seeing a pic that goes with MY story. Makes me feel like I'm some sort of big-shot.

But really, I'm just a quiet, quilly person from a small town.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gimmick or Angle

One detective has books named alphabetically, another has them by numbers. There are detectives with beach themes, with craft themes, with sudoku themes. Name a theme or an angle and there seems to be a set of mysteries to go along with it.

Is this good or bad? While it certainly has that nudge of Gimmick to it, I'd have to argue that it's one way to stand out. The mystery section at even my baby Borders store is massive. Let's not talk about the corner of the library devoted to mysteries. It's actually rather overwhelming at times.

But gimmicks and angles stand out. Many non-mystery people I talk to (okay, most of them are my students, but I have to educate them...) don't know who Sue Grafton is, but they know the alphabet books. Similar deal with Janet Evaonvich.

There are so many aspring writers, and so many people who've already gotten their book onto those bookstore shelves. In order to get more than a small sliver of the market, I think it's important for an author to have or devise some way to stand out from the rest. At least until name alone is strong enough to carry the books.

Obviously, my angle is sex and violence. Along with my sharp tongued and sharp witted female private eye. I've not read anything quite like what I write. Especially nothing set today.

This is how I think I'm going to stand out. My angle. Or gimmick.

Now, I just got to finish that novel and find out if I'm right.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Books and Reviews

Since my box of to-be-read books is stil about as well controlled as a Chia Pet on growth hormones, I don't usually read too many reviews or think much about the next books I might consider possibly getting. Though I come across quite a few reviews in the corner of the blogosphere where I hangout in the cone of diffuse yellow light from a lone streetlight. I might skim a paragraph or two, but, sorry folks, I have to curb my book buying.

In fact, besides Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues, I went nearly five months without procuring any new books. I even made some progress on The Box. That changed when I stopped by the book store-- it was the compromise on going to the movie theatre for our Anniversary Sunday. That's my gift to Hubby-- I go to the theatre and don't bitch about how much I hate the theatre (and the people and the prices) until we leave. That's a long time to chew on those complaints. But, we went to the bookstore to "browse" before the movie started. Ha!

I never agreed to merely browse! (I don't like browsing. It's like eating without swallowing.) So, I specifically went in search of new books. I was happy to find several: Easy Innocence, Hallowed Ground, and Branded Woman. I was hoping for the Christa Faust book, but the Hard Case Crime section was a little light at our baby Borders store. These were books that I've read and heard good things about as I slither through the dark corners of the blogosphere. Titles and authors that I took note of-- and didn't even have to write down to remember.

I don't know if it was reviews or just general blog chatter that lead me to my latest books. I don't remember much about reviews that I read. Prehaps because I never read a review with the intention of finding out if I want to buy the book. I read Terry Lawson's movie reviews that way, but not book reviews.

Book reviews, for me, end up being something of a checklist. Particularly a checklist of "don'ts" for my own writing. Without fail, everytime I read a review, I mull it over. And if I'm taking one of my treks halfway across the county to and from work, I muse the whole way. Do I do that? What about this one scene-- would that be considered... what if I tweak it?

I obsess over every scene, every phrase, every plot development. I hold my story up to the reviews. And obsess some more.

I'd like to think that all this obsessing makes me a better writer than I would be otherwise. But somedays, I think it just makes me crazy. Or crazier than I am on normal days. XD

  • Reading: Mildred Peirce by James M. Cain
  • Novel Progress: Line editing
  • What I should be doing: My grad school final project.
  • Current Song: Paralyzer by Finger Eleven

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Town Monday: The Mill Pond

Situtated in the center of Brighton, is the Mill Pond. This pond was formed on Ore Creek a tributary of the Huron River. Once upon a time a mill was set up on the river, using the water power to work.

Sometime in the 1950s, it was decided that something needed to be done with the old Mill Pond. At the time, the pond was just a kind-of rock lined, filthy, body of water in town. Eventually, it
was turned into something of a local attraction.

It's got sloped cement walls, abundant wildlife, a fountain, and the Imagination Station. (Like a playground but way better! But that's for a future week.)

Across the center of the Mill Pond is the Tridge. It's a three-way bridge.

It's a good place to feed the birds from. The birds in the Mill Pond are so accumstomed to being fed, that they nearly swarm strolling people. Without the beating of wings and such, but it's pretty amazing to see a flock of twenty ducks or geese swimming at someone who happens to be standing on the Tridge. Even if there's no food being dropped into the water.

I remember, not so long ago, that there used to be little gumball-like machines on the shore of the Mill Pond that dispensed corn for feeding the wildlife. They're gone now, and I have to think it would be because folks wouldn't want the wildlife dependent on people at the Mill Pond.

Clearly, though, living in the Mill Pond, as opposed to a regular pond, is a little different for wildlife. A couple years back, I recall spotting just ONE albino duck. Well, that duck has been getting busy. There are now quite a few albino and part albino ducks in the Mill Pond. Anywhere else, and I have to think these would be an oddly colored dinner for somebody.

More wildlife. The ducks and geese seem to live more or less harmoniously. As you get on the other side of the Tridge, the Mill Pond is more of a natural waterway.

Since these pix were taken in late spring, there were quite a few fuzzy and "ugly" ducklings around.

There's a swan or two on the Mill Pond from time to time as well. But they don't usually play by the peopled end of the pond, choosing instead to hang out on the other side.

The Gazebo, on the shore of the Mill Pond, is used for all sorts of events. It's a gathering place, convenient to town and parking. And peaceful-- as peaceful as an oft-visited place in downtown can be. Even if it is the downtown in a little city like Brighton.

I know "city" is based on population, but to me, it seems impossible that Brighton is a city. Ann Arbor-- that's a city. Howell, maybe. But not the little town of Brighton.

The Mill Pond drains under Main Street. There once was a damn here, but it was taken out a few years ago. For a long, long time I wondered where the water went. In high school, I decided it must just go into the sewers, which seemed wrong to me.

Well, that conclusion was wrong. On the other side of Main Street, there is a large city parking lot. Beyond THAT is where Ore Creek comes out in a little creek that continues it's path, eventually going under the CSX railway and emptying into Brighton Lake.

With all the birds that call the Mill Pond home, one ever present feature that can't be overlooked is the bird poo.

Birds poo a lot.

The city cleans the sidewalks regularly, but one is still advised to watch for wet droppings and wash their shoes upon returning home.

For years, the Mill Pond has been an attraction in downtown Brighton. A park has always sat on the shore. I'm just old enough to remember the park with the big metal slide (yeah, that would take off some skin on summer days), the swings, the merry-go-round (remember when those weren't an Evil that had to be eradicated?)

But, that park is gone. Instead, Brighton has the Imagination Station. Oh man, that place is AWESOME! Even though I nearly got a concussion because I'm just a wee bit larger than the intended patrons. Next week-- the Imagination Station.

Don't forget to see Travis Erwin for other My Town Monday posts. Travel the world from your computer. No motion sickness or lost luggage.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues

I loved the first Baby Shark book and devoured it in a reading frenzy of 24hours. This second book was good, but didn't quite grab me the same way.

There was one single allusion to Kristin's Baby Shark nickname. She didn't once trounce the guys at pool. This boook seemed a bit detached from Kristin, compared to the first one.

The first book was very personal since it dealt with Kritin's revenge. The second book moves her into the private eye business, so there's no personal angle. That was biggest drawback in the book.

The writing was fine, the story was interesting, I just wanted more of the Kristin I'd gotten to know from the first book to show up. Still, I'd recommend it. Still a good, solid book. And I can't wait until I can get my little hands on book #3.

In other news, things got crazy around here. It was the LAST week of classes. Plus I had a baby shower for my sister in law to attend (I'm too young to procreate ;-). And the Alternative Ed Graduation.

And today's my wedding anniversary, so I'm trying to get this post out of the way so we can have the rest of the day to play. No idea what we're doing-- eating out it a challenge at best since I'm allergic to everything. Gas prices are insane. I barely tolerate the movie theatre. Good thing he's tolerant and easy-going. I knew there was a reason (or two) I married this guy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Harboiled Sympathy

How does a writer make a hard-edged character that doesn't put all the readers off?

I'm not going to make any claims that I've achieved this. I think I've done somethings that make Bo Fexler likable. Mainly humor.

I was advised early on in this writing biz that reader's like to be able to idenfity with characters and that helps build sympathy. Talk about bringing the writing process to a screeching, chaotic halt for a spell with THAT one!

I'm one of those solitairy creatures. My favorite things to do include reading, writing, surfing the internet, and hubby things with hubby. ;-) I don't really know what readers would identify with. The only thing I came up with for sure is grabbing a carton of ice cream after a rough day.

But in the end, Bo Fexler is still a hard-edged, foul-mouthed, sharp tongued character. Although... generally, the harder the shell on a person, the more sensitive they are. Get past Bo's sharp lines, and you'll find that she's self-conscious about her speech and unsure how to get along with people.

Maybe that'll be enough for readers to sympathize with.

What ways do you find yourself sympathizing or identifying with characters?

  • Novel Progress: 71k, waiting for line-editing (that I really don't feel like doing!)
  • What I should be doing: Grad school homework or praying to the computer gods
  • Current Song: Paralyzer by Finger Eleven

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Town Monday: The Naked Guy

In Downtown Brighton, there is a Mill Pond. This mostly man-made structure is a scene of tranquillity.

And a scene of controversy.

Because on this shore is THE NAKED GUY.

And he doesn't have any clothes on!

You could see his "willy", his "wiener", his "unmentionables"-- his penis. (Man, I could totally go on... there are so many names for this one piece of anatomy it's crazy.)

If he really had them, of course.

The statue is about as well-defined as a Ken doll. Not quite androgynous, but barely lumps.

But, nonetheless, there were protests and outrage (OUTRAGE!) that this statue was placed here, purchased by the City of Brighton from a local art show.

The outrage was that this sort of nudity was profane. Furthermore, these uptight prudes-- I mean, ah, overreacting busybodies, um, anyway... these folks were upset that the statue was facing Main Street.

This group of outraged citizens wrote angry letters to the paper. They went to the city council. In the end, they lost. Because there's really nothing lewd about the statue. Aside from the fact that there's not even any penis or balls to speak of on this statue, the city council (and much of the community) decided that neither the general public nor any kids would be scarred from seeing the statue.

Unfortunately, at the time the community didn't realize that this was only the first kerfluffle a small group of local folks would make about 'decency' and 'morality' on a small quest to impose their beliefs on others. These folks also protested thongs in the window of the new local Victoria's Secret. They also had a fit when the Intimate Ideas sex shop opened in Brighton. Luckily, this groupd has been distracted of late. Hopefully they're teaching their own kids how to be good, responsible citizens who are respectful of other's beliefs even if they disagree.

The Naked Guy, or Decision Pending as he was dubbed by the artist, still stands on the shore of the Mill Pond. Still mooning the folks at the Mill Pond and flashing the drivers on Main Street. In broad daylight. But most people don't even seem to mind.

Go see Travis Erwin for more My Town Monday Posts.

-->I plan to do posts on the Mill Pond and the Imagination Station in the following weeks.