Showing posts from 2013

1970s Shag Carpet Shot. It is what it is.



"Understand, she was not a genius of a child, but merely one of considerable intelligence and talent, who after years of frustration and boredom had seized her opportunity at last."--Merrick by Anne Rice

The Beast in the Jungle

He continued to look at her. "What then is the matter with you?"
"Well," she said after another wait, "the matter with me is simply that I'm more sure than ever my curiosity, as you call it, will be but too well repaid."
--From "The Beast in the Jungle" by Henry James

Don't pass out because I am actually posting something...

Wow. I have really been out of the blogging world. I haven't blogged anything in a really long time, mainly because I have been so busy in my "real world" job. The end of the summer through the holidays are my busiest time around here, so I just haven't had the time (nor have I felt energized or inspired enough) to write anything.

I am finally feeling like I want to step back into my "literature" world again, so I have set a few goals for myself. One goal in particular is to get something ready to submit to the VI conference next year. I don't want to quit working in the field I spent the better part of a decade participating in! So, I am working out some possible avenues of research at the moment. The only thing I know for sure is that I don't want to write about Dickens! :)

As far as my other writing: I am finishing up a chapter on A. E. Wilson, and I am outlining my NaNoWriMo project. This is the first year I feel up to it since 2008, so I am rea…

I heart professors who are also romance authors...

I was out on campus for a conference (actually, and "unconference") last week/weekend, and I came across this office door in New College:


I immediately tweeted this picture (and one below) to my friend, author Vicky Dreiling. We are so happy that a college professor is giving the "okay" to read romance novels! Then, I wondered....who is this person? Well, it turns out that she (Catherine Roach) writes under the name Catherine LaRoche! Her first novel, Master of Love, was published by Simon & Schuster last year! She is also working on a scholarly book about the romance genre, which makes me extremely happy right now!

Anyway, next to her door is a sign-up sheet for students who would like to "come on in" and "borrow a romance novel"! (I love the highlighting.)

And, of course, I can't resist this sign...

Rock on, fellow romance writers. Rock on.

Saw this on my Tumblr page, and thought I would repost here...

From “With the Dead" "And now I rest! A dreadful rest, accursed,
Made weary with despair and furious
With the old hate and the old bitter love:
Because I must, despite myself, remember…" —Augusta Webster

I miss being on vacation...

...basically because I  miss seeing this face all day long. :)

RWA 2013

So, I am finally rested up from attending the Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta last week! I had a great time, met so many amazing and inspiring people, and learned a ton! I am officially addicted to RWA, and since I returned, I have already downloaded several audio recorded sessions from the 2012 conference! So, here is a rundown:

Day 1: Arrival, orientation, literacy book signing event! Everything went really well. I got checked into my room early, picked up my registration packet (and my "first timer" ribbon!...PS: WEAR THIS IF YOU GO! You only get it once, and it really does help. People are super nice to you and help you navigate the craziness that is your first time to the conference.), and went to the first-timer's orientation. If you plan on going to your first RWA event, definitely go to this session. You are introduced to a lot of terms (some you know and others you may not), and you also learn the important "dos and don'ts of the confer…

So, yeah. I've been out of the loop.

Sorry for not posting! I have been super busy, trying to get all of my work affairs in order before leaving for vacation in about a week! That and getting the summer issue to the printer has made life exhausting.

I am super excited about having some time off. I really need to recharge (and sleep). I will be going to the RWA conference, so I will write a blog or two about it! Anyway, until next time, have a great week!

I'm a total fangirl when it comes to meeting authors!

So, yesterday I got to meet Lila Quintero Weaver, the author of Darkroom. (See my review HERE.)  I was super excited!! Though I don't like to bug people for pictures, Lila was kind enough to pose with me! She is so nice and such an amazing artist and writer. Check out Darkroom when you can!!

Happy Birthday, W. B. Yeats! (Born June 13, 1865.)

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

SAILING TO BYZANTIUM I That is no country for old men. The young In one another's arms, birds in the trees ---Those dying generations---at their song, The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas, Fish, flesh, or fowl commend all summer long Whatever is begotten, born, and dies. Caught in that sensual music all neglect Monuments of unaging intellect.
II An aged man is but a paltry thing, A tattered coat upon a stick, unless Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing For every tatter in its mortal dress, Nor is there singing school but studying Monuments of its own magnificence; And therefore I have sailed the seas and come To the holy city of Byzantium.
III O sages standing in God's holy fire As in the gold mosaic of a wall, Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre, And be the singing-masters of my soul. Consume my heart away; sick with desire And fastened to a dying animal It knows not what it is; and gather me Into the artifice of eternity.
IV Once out of nature I shall neve…

The eternal question...


I love the Borgias...and this might have been the best scene ever...

Image is what I am thinking about reading next...


What a Wicked Earl Wants, by Vicky Dreiling

(Note: I will be cross-posting this on my other book blog...yes, I have started another one. It isn't because I love blogging so much as that I have to find a place to put all of my book experiences! Anyway, there it is.)

From the back cover...

WILL A RAKE'S WICKED WAYSAndrew Carrington, Earl of Bellingham, believes in being a gentleman, whether it's fishing a soggy stranger out of the Thames or assisting a fetching lady into his bed. If the stranger becomes a friend and the lady a mistress, all the better. He certainly welcomes the opportunity to help Laura Davenport, a dazzling young widow with a rebellious stepson. Her gratitude, he hopes, will take an amorous form. But from the moment he sets foot in her drawing room, he gets far more than he bargained for ... LEAD THE LADY ASTRAY?It was a moment of desperation. On the brink of losing her stepson, Laura turned to the notorious Lord Bellingham for help. Suddenly she, a vicar's daughter, is in the precarious position…

Charles Lamb, my latest fascination...

There is an awesome portrait of him HERE, but I can't post it because it isn't in the public domain. Sigh. Still, you can see it for yourself by clicking on the link.

I am fascinated by the story of Charles and his sister Mary. For a brief overview, see HERE. I am in the middle of researching this sibling pair, and I will probably bore you with blog posts about them as time goes on. Sorry in advance. :)


I finally bought a keyboard for my iPad! I can't tell you what a difference this is making for me. I have the iPad for work, but I often find it so cumbersome to use it for editing, simply because I always have to use the touch keyboard when I try to edit. This is SO much better! I love it! I feel like I have a second laptop, and this means that I will use the iPad that much more.
Also, I downloaded Pages from the App Store. I love it, too. I always used the Apple word processing software before they started using Word. I found Appleworks (and its various incarnations) to be so much more user friendly. I have missed it! Well, now I basically have it again! YAY! I can do just about anything on Pages through my iPad, and I can install it on my computer at home, too. This is a great day!
In other news:
Jeff graduated from BCT on Friday! AND: the graduated with honors in the top ten percent of his class!! Hooray for Jeff! I am so proud of him! I know that his parents and sister are havin…

Want to see demolition photos of the Kilgore House?

Then check out my blog "Alabama Letters." The house came down today. :(

Click HERE.

I don't feel so bad...

So, I googled photos of other "TBR" piles, and I realized two things:

1. We have a lot of the same books in our "TBR" piles....

2. I am not alone in my guilt that I have a lot of unread books around the house!

It really is pathetic, though. I mean, books are expensive. Why do I buy one and then not read it immediately? Better yet: why do I buy books at all right now (or even download them), if I haven't finished what I have? I think the truth is that I am an emotional reader. What I mean by that is that I have to choose my reading material based on my mood or need at the time. Still, I have way too many books. I need to donate them to our friends of the library store, because I know I will never get through all of them.

A beautiful Tuesday on campus at The University of Alabama!


R.I.P. Kilgore House

“I have spent the past three years writing an architectural history of the University of Alabama for the UA Press (it will be available this September), so I am very familiar with the campus. I think the demolition of the Kilgore House today was a terrible loss for the University and also Bryce Hospital.

“The University has spent a tremendous amount of time and money developing a well thought out master plan and a set of architectural guidelines for future growth that (on paper, but obviously not in practice) pay respect to and "protect" the historical portions of campus. These guidelines also emphasize ‘green solutions’ whenever possible (sending a 123 year old house to a landfill is not one of them). Demolishing an historic building with many important historical and architectural links to the history of both the University of Alabama and to Bryce Hospital is, in my opinion, shocking. Replacing it with an ‘outdoor food court’ leaves me speechless.” 

-- Dr. Robert Mellown, As…

The Cahaba River!

If you would like to see photos of our (the magazine staff's) field trip to see the Cahaba River and Centerville, check out my blog Alabama Letters! Click HERE.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close By Jonathan Safran Foer
Teaser from Amazon:

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.

If you saw my preview to this review (posted last week), you know that I have never read a novel about September 11, 2001. I have waited a long time to see a novel that might describe something--anything--about those events in an accurate way, and I think that Jonathan Safran Foer's novel comes as close as possible. Because how do you really describe something like 9/11? No, I wasn't in New York City. I am not a New Yorker. But that doesn't mean that t…

Galleys are here! AKA: Time to break into the chocolate stash.


Happy Birthday to my parents!

My parents have birthdays that are one week apart! Last weekend, my mom celebrated her birthday, and this weekend, dad will celebrate his! Happy Birthday to my parents! I love you!

I miss Jeff!!!

Jeff is at BCT in Oklahoma, and I miss him so much! This was taken VERY early in the morning on our graduation day (he graduated with his BS in criminal justice; I graduated with the PhD in was a great day! I loved sharing it with him!). I love you, Jeff!!! I can't wait until you have leave to come home!!!!

What I am reading now: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

I haven't updated in a while, because our production cycle was crazy at the magazine! Also, because of the delays, we had to jump right into the next issue...which has been crazy and full of challenges, too! I don't have a review ready for you just yet, but I should soon. I just finished a reread of About a Boy (for the online class I am participating in), and I am now in the middle of  Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. I am interested to see how this book will end. So far, I really love it. It is unusual and the main character, young Oskar, has a distinctive voice. I have read some reviews of the book where people found (eventually) the book to be a bit annoying, though every book reviewer also mentioned that Foer is capable of portraying the sense of loss very well. I agree.

This is the first "9/11" book I have been able to summon the courage to read (other than the 9/11 Report). As someone who loves books and writing, one of my fir…

This is on my wish list...



This might just be my favorite article about Dickens studies EVER:

When Dickens met DostoevskyThis article is long...but it is so worth it!

I finally read Outlander!

So, I finally read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It is an interesting book...I liked it for the most part, but I do have issues with the characterization of Claire. Some things struck me as totally unrealistic. I was also amazed at how much sex was in this book. I don't care, but I found it funny that so many people complained about the amount of sex in Into the Wilderness (by Sara Donati) when there is clearly much more of it in here. People amaze me sometimes! Still, like I said, that didn't bother me. For the most part, the scenes were well done. My only complaint has to do with some of the things Claire does. Anyway, I just started Dragonfly in Amber (it might take me a while), but so far I like it.

I am also reading A Clash of Kings, the second book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. I am totally obsessed with the show (I had read the first book before watching it), and I LOVE Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. Wow. AMAZING!!! He is just awesome…

Skipping out on "Top Ten Tuesday"...

So, I wasn't really feeling the "Top Ten Tuesday" theme for today, so I thought I would make my own. As you might have seen in my last post, this week is the U.S. Holocaust Days of Remembrance, so I thought I would make a list of ten books about the Holocaust (or that are related to the Holocaust)...

1. Night (really, the Night trilogy) by Elie Wiesel.

2. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

3. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.

4. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum.

5. Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account by Miklos Nyiszli.

6. Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally.

7. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.

8. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne.

9. Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman.

10. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.

Of course, there are so many more...but this is a place to start.

Holocaust Days of Remembrance

A great way to honor victims of the Holocaust is to participate in the U.S. Holocaust Days of Remembrance. At the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum WEBSITE, you can see pictures and read stories of victims. Then, you can share one of those stories on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.

Today, I share with you the story of Tchiya Perlmutter. Click HERE.

I love this kid!


Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most!

As always, "Top Ten Tuesday" is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. Check them out!


1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. My favorite book. EVER. There is so much to be gained from reading this one. It is an absorbing read for a kid, but it is amazingly rich for adult readers, too. I love it.
2. The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling. I admit, the first two books weren't that exciting on my first read, but I love the series starting with book three. From there on out, it is my addiction!

3. The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas. This book is so crazy, but I LOVE it. It involves parallel universe theory and all kinds of crazy elements. So good!
4. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I've discussed this one on the blog before, and most of you have already read it (just like you've read the HP series!), but it is worth saying that I think this is one of the most important YA series eve…

Working, working, working

What a crazy month! I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the magazine still isn't out of the door. Rest assured that when it is, I will be indulging in a couple of adult beverages. :)
Other items of interest: --Jeff, my cousin, is fully integrated into basic combat training at Ft. Sill! We received our first letter from him yesterday, and I teared up while reading it. It was so great to hear from him. He is doing well!
--I am reading so many things right now, but probably the next book that I will review will be on this blog. I am reading Outlander (read it years ago...I have't read the rest of the series, so I needed to refresh). I am discovering so many great things about it that I didn't notice when I was nineteen...and I am noticing so many bad things about it that I didn't notice when I was nineteen! Anyway, it is still a great story and an absorbing read, and I look forward to the rest of the series.
--I will begin a book club discussion o…

As a side note:

Please send good thoughts/prayers to two of my family friends and one of my little cousins. Each one of them is suffering from a form of terminal cancer. I wish scientists could find a way to rid the world of this disease.

On the bedside table...

Here is a preview of what I am reading right now...

I am rereading the HP series (Pottermore sealed the deal). I also decided to pick up (FINALLY) The Hobbit. I have never actually read anything by Tolkien. I still can't get used to the hobbits' hairy feet, but I am actually enjoying this book.

I will take a photo of the actual book pile on my bedside table tonight...but this will have to do for now. :)

Pottermore. Yes. I caved.

So, in my renewed obsession with all things Harry Potter (well, okay, let's face it...the obsession has never gone away), I decided to log on to Pottermore during my lunch hour. Holy cow. What a mistake! I spent forever on there! I set up an account when it began, but I was a bit jaded by its purpose at the time. I just saw it as another way for JKR to make money (not that she shouldn't, but I was afraid there would be pointless crap on there).

But today I set up a new account!! Now that I am also totally obsessed with all things digital publishing related, I find this site absolutely AMAZING!!! It is awesome! And it really does provide a great interactive reading experience for kids new to the series as well.

The little girl who lives next door to me just started the series, and today, when I logged on, I thought about her and how cool it would be for her to get on this site. She can totally live out the books as she reads them, finding out new information and deleted scenes,…

It is my Blog Anniversary!

I have been blogging 8 YEARS!!! Holy moly! Where did the time go?

A Harry Potter Re-read?

I am getting the urge to read the Harry Potter novels again. This could prove dangerous. :)

New Reviews!

I have new reviews up at Alabama Letters and I Love YA Books! (Yes, I decided to continue with WordPress. Heaven help me.)

So true...

Thanks, Jan, for sending this one to me!

Some teenager in this town is going to hate me.

I went to the library on my lunch hour, mainly because I needed to get out of the office, and...WOW. I checked out the mother load! Monday mornings must be the best time to go there for new books (at least in the YA section), because I found several of the recent hardback releases I have really been wanting to read!

Here is my hardback haul for the day:

Each of these is a sequel to a book I have read recently, so I am super excited to have them without buying them! Also, teen readers in my town should take heart: I will have them back in the library before spring break.
I also managed to snatch up three other less recent titles (though they are still really hard to find at my library), so it is a VERY good library day! 

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Title: Abandon
Author: Meg Cabot
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: 1/1/12 
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
My Rating: 3.5/4 stars

New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.
Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him m…

New Year's Resolutions are crap.

So, yeah. I broke my New Year's Resolution to not buy a book. :)

Oh, well. I made it longer than I ever thought that I would! Ha!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Characters in the Classics Genre

As always, the "Top Ten Tuesday" writing prompt is brought to us by
The Broke and the Bookish! Check them out!

Top Ten Favorite Characters in the Classics Genre!
1. John Thornton from North and South. I love him more than life itself. :)
2. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.
3. Little Jo from Bleak House.
4. Allan Woodcourt from Bleak House.
5. Dickon Sowerby from The Secret Garden.
6. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights.
7. Estella from Great Expectations.
8. Jo from Little Women.
9. Cleopatra from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.
10. Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Billy's Sports Grill in Northport

Just got back from a great lunch with some of the crew here at the magazine. We went to the newly opened Billy's Sports Grill, which is located in historic downtown Northport. The food was fantastic, and I love what they have done with the restaurant. The restaurant has been under construction for quite some time, so we have all been curious to see what it would look like. The owner took the old location of The Globe and  Opus, and he completely redid it, remaining faithful to the original nineteenth-century construction and architectural details.

The bar is constructed out of heart pine found behind walls as they uncovered older parts of the building. The main centerpiece of the bar is an antique from France.

The walls are plaster -- not sheet rock-- and it is just gorgeous!

Anyway, the food was fantastic. I had fish tacos and grilled veggies (very light and good); my boss and her husband had chicken and steak wraps; and my coworker, Rebecca, had a delicious looking burger (and t…