Monday, June 28, 2010

Books on the House...And She Does Mean "On the House"!

Back in town,* and a whole lotta book stuff happening on these interwebs.

First up, exciting news: Ten Cents a Dance is the featured book at Books on the House for Kids & Teens! The founder of BotH, Misa Ramirez, is an author herself, and she was looking for ways to bring authors and readers together. The answer is her website: Books on the House, and Books on the House for Kids/Teens. Every week, readers can visit the sites and enter to win free signed books. Win-win for everyone!

Four reasons to trot on over and check it out:
--This is your absolutely, positively, last chance to win a signed paperback of Ten Cents a Dance (that I know of)! So throw your hat in the ring, already!

--You can see a video interview, done specially for BotH, in which I talk about why I started writing; my mother's horror when she realized I was going to make public a family secret that had been under wraps for three generations; and my current novel-in-progress (never before discussed anywhere!) Also, I make funny faces when I talk. Not helped by the fact I'm trying to look at the camera, not my computer screen, because I didn't realize they should both be in your line of vision. (I was mostly concerned with making sure that the cat litter behind me wasn't visible. Which, BTW, thank you Miss Molly Brown, for NOT peeing in the box until thirty seconds after the interview was over.)

--You can also see the Ten Cents a Dance book trailer. Didn't know there was one? Neither did I, until last week when Google Alerts tipped me off. The trailer was done by Adriana, a teen librarian in California. This is one of the most astonishing things about being published...that people will read your book and be inspired by it to create something completely new.

--Seriously, you need a fourth reason? BOOK TRAILER. CONTEST. FUNNY FACES. Ye gods, people.

*The wedding was gorgeous, BTW...sunshine, ocean breezes and rose petals, the bride and groom crazy in love, and yes, this auntie did shed tears. Bellissima!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Quest

To some people, shopping for a dress is the most perfect possible way to spend an afternoon.

I am not one of those people.

However, several undeniable facts have been staring me in the face:

Fact #1: When it comes to attending weddings, jeans just don't cut it. Not even my best boot cuts.

Fact #2: The most suitable dress I own was last worn to the wedding of the current bride's older sister. Two weddings a few years apart...aunt in exact same dress. Question: Do I want to be that aunt? Answer: No.

Fact #3: My next most suitable dress happens to be ten years old. Still cute. Still fits. But, realistically, how long can one drag out the millennium?

Fact #4: Even if one decided that the millennium could stretch one more year (a sketchy proposal at best), that means buying new shoes, since the old ones that went with said dress are now kaput.

Fact #5: As much as I dislike clothes shopping, I would almost rather pull my own head off than venture out for shoes. Oh, you 6 mediums who prance through shoe departments plucking pairs of cuteness right and left...pity the poor 10 double-narrow, who slogs from store to store, the inevitable refrain ringing in her ears: "We're sorry, that style doesn't come in your size. But we do have this" *displaying the shoe equivalent of a wart with hair growing out of it* "Would you like to try it on?"

No. No, I wouldn't.

So. Goal: Buy cute dress in a good color, suitable for a late-afternoon wedding, that goes with existing shoes and doesn't break the bank. Really, how hard could that be?

Fast-forward through 4 hours, 8 stores, and a crosstown drive chasing down a dress in a bigger size which a sales associate assured me was available at another location, and yet...was not. I am now a wee bit cranky.

May I ask the designers of America just one question? What is so difficult about providing dresses for grown-up people? Seriously. I would like to know the answer to this question. The few dresses I found that didn't make me look like I was trying to be 18 again (believe me, I'm not--been there, ain't going back), and also didn't make me look like someone's aged mother (which I also am not) invariably cost upwards of $200. Am I the only 46-year-old in America on a budget who wants something other than a thigh-high skirt in garish cheap jersey or pleated navy polka dots? I think not. Where are our dresses, o designers of America?

Bereft of answers, I found myself, at long last, wandering through Nordstrom. The budget is why I didn't go there first, but I love Nordie's, and will always love Nordie's, for one reason: they absolutely refuse to put up any Christmas decorations--not a single strand of tinsel, not the tiniest star--until the day after Thanksgiving. In a day and age when we're subjected to Rudolph and his damn red nose two weeks before Halloween, a store that hews to traditional seasons is dear to my heart.

And then there's Desiree.

Desiree saw my frustrated, worn-out self and took me in hand. I gave her all my criteria--including the one I haven't yet mentioned, which is that this hypothetical dress needs to be on a plane with me in less than 24 hours--and she ran with it. In ten minutes, I had eight dresses to choose from. In twenty minutes, I had a dress. A great dress. The dress. AND it was on sale.

Desiree, I wish you kittens and rainbows and your own personal enchanted genie who will wash your car and clean your house and cook you scrumptious dinners forever.

Now: if only I can get everything into the carry-on, so I don't have to check luggage. I know, I know...I already have the moon, must I want the stars, too?

Yes. Yes, I must. Off to pack, darlings.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reading for Comfort

To everyone who stopped by and left a comment last time--thank you! I appreciated all the sweet thoughts.

One thing I've noticed, when I've got a lot going on or I've hit a rough patch, is that my reading pattern changes.

Some people eat for comfort. Me, I read for comfort. (Not that I have anything against comfort eating. In fact, best of all is a combination, with the eating portion preferably involving bacon. Or cheese popcorn.)

I'm much less likely to start new novels, even if they're by authors I know. Instead, I go to my shelves and pick down old favorites. These are novels I've read anywhere between five times and, I don't know, maybe twenty. Some are books I first read when I was a teen. As far as genre, they're all over the map, but they have one thing in common: From the first page, I feel like I've slipped into a sweet, familiar place.

In the past couple of weeks, I've reread The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, Spring Moon by Bette Bao Lord, and I'm just finishing Dragon Seed by Pearl S. Buck.

After that, I think I'll be ready to dive into new waters again. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is already on my nightstand, waiting.

How about you? Any favorite comfort reads? Or, when you have a lot on your plate, do you prefer to plunge into something brand-new?