Thinking we need some Monday smiles, so our writing/reading memes are somewhat on the silly side today. Except for those that aren’t.
Thinking we need some Monday smiles, so our writing/reading memes are somewhat on the silly side today. Except for those that aren’t.
by Kassandra Lamb
I thought I’d share a fun little post I put up on my site…
A Dog’s Dictionary to Describe the World
I took my dog for a walk the other day. And as I was dragging him away from his fascination with a crumpled leaf in the road, I thought about how the world must seem to our dogs.
As we walked around the neighborhood, this “dictionary” of doggie views of the world came to me.
1. Those brown, crunchie things all over the ground (dried leaves) – definition: something that might taste good.
2. Those tall green thingies (bushes) – definition: my favorite place to pee.
3. Those gray clumps of stringy thingies (Spanish moss that has fallen from trees) – definition: my second favorite place to pee.
4. That delicious-smelling pile of gooey stuff that makes Mom yell “leave it!” (three-day-old roadkill) – definition: something that definitely will taste good… READ MORE
Happy Holidays from Watson and me!!
And don’t forget to grab a copy of my new Christmas novella. Just $0.99
A Christmas extravaganza in Mayfair, Florida, complete with an ice skating rink. What could go wrong?
When excavation for the skating rink uncovers a decades-old skeleton, its secrets threaten more than the town’s Christmas plans. Worried about her friends in her adopted town and feeling responsible since the let’s-attract-more-tourists idea was hers initially, dog trainer Marcia Banks is determined to help her police detective boyfriend solve the mystery—whether he wants her help or not. Perhaps she can wheedle more out of the townspeople than he can.
But will she and her Black Lab, Buddy, be able to keep the ghost of Christmas past from destroying what is left of Mayfair’s founding family, or will her meddling make matters worse?
For whatever reason, I can never reblog anything from Deb’s blog, but by golly, I’m a determined kinda gal, and I want to share her interview with Sarah Brentyn. So, doing this the old-fashioned way, via copy and paste. 🙂
Sarah is a quaintly quirky and positively pithy sort of writer, and this is a great interview. Check it out, and then check out Sarah’s books! (Also, sharing is good, via whatever method will work for you.) Enjoy!
Note from Barb:
Thank you so much Marcia for all you do to promote other writers, and for allowing me to participate in Excerpt Week. The following excerpt is from End of the Line, the final book in my Null City series.
by Barb Taub
You have to understand that everyone in Null City is a normal human. Most of them just didn’t start out that way. Imagine you’re some superhero with special gifts or abilities that are, frankly, damn awkward. Let’s say, for example, that you are the Man of Steel, but you don’t dare have sex with the Plucky Girl Reporter because your LittleMan of Steel would probably split her in two. (And we’re not even going to discuss the havoc your Swimmers of Steel could wreck on Woman of Pasta…)
The point is that when you think about it, most people with special powers would be lining up to get rid of them and get their normal lives back. That’s where Null City comes in. After one day there, those with extra gifts turn into their closest human counterparts. Dragons, for example, might become realtors. Or imps become baristas. (Of course, those imps are now ex-PhD candidates in literature or classics who claim to be experts on third-world coffee blends and obscure world music groups. But hey — there is only so close to human that hellspawn can get…)
POPPY: Null City, 2016
I paused on the landing of the grand stairway leading down to the main waiting room and on to the platform of the Metro Station. Above me the pearly light of a typical Null City afternoon streamed through the green and gold stained glass arched ceiling and huge matching rose windows at either end.
Just below the window, a tiled mosaic spelled out Ø CITY above a painted banner bearing a quote from Sir Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. Visitors are usually impressed, at least until someone shares the Null City version that it was painted by an artistic imp standing on an actual giant who was waiting for his one-day window to pass until he became a normal human.
Dark old polished wood benches from the waiting room—the round ones whose central lamp posts now bloomed with tissue flowers and white ribbons, and the long benches with elegantly curved backs—were filled with guests, both from Null City and those who had poured in on the special Metro run.
Null City residents know that the needles on any compass here point to the Metro Station as our own version of true north. But as far as I know, only the Anchor feels that pull. I closed my eyes, and opened my connection to the City. It wasn’t words, not exactly. But…images of feelings, like holding the most effervescent of champagne to my nose…dry and tingling and full of delicious, intoxicating promise.
I smiled at the tickle as the fizz of the connection spread over my skin and I passed my own feelings back along the connection. I know you’re pleased. This wedding is just the right thing, in the right place, with the right people. Continue reading
Ain’t It the Truth?
“The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe that we are above-average drivers.”
― Dave Barry,
“Do NOT,” my mother warned as she slid out of the red pleather bench seat of the Vomit Comet, “…come out without IT.” I had just turned sixteen, and IT was my drivers license. Growing up in a California suburb where you practically needed a car to drive to your mailbox, a license meant freedom and adulthood and illicit trips to the beach. In my case, it also meant relief for my mother, who ran a one-woman taxi service for her ten children, frequently logging upwards of a hundred miles in a day.
While I pictured trips to the drive-in with all my friends—the Vomit Comet was purchased to my parents’ rigid specifications regarding the number of children that could be crammed into its seatbelts-are-for-people-without-spare-kids triple rows of seats—my mother was dreaming of the day someone else would help drive to school/grocery/other school/afterschool/after-afterschool/and on and on.
I did indeed return with the license, and duly received the keys to Gus, a geriatric VW bug twice my age who predated modern conveniences like a gas gauge, but boasted three important features—he ran (mostly), he had a great radio, and he was a teenaged Californian’s most essential accessory—a convertible.
Gus died heroically a year or so later with his radio on, blocking the entrance to the beach at Santa Cruz and resulting in a traffic jam so legendary it made the evening news and the next four decades of my father’s conversation. But I went on to drive for all of the following 40+ years. I even spent a gazillion years (that’s in parent-terror units) doing the required behind-the-wheel practice with all four kids.
“You’re a rotten driver,” I protested. “Either you ought to be more careful, or you oughtn’t drive at all.”
“I am careful.”
“No you’re not.”
“Well, other people are,” she said lightly.
“What’s that got to do with it?”
“They’ll keep out of my way,” she insisted. “It takes two to make an accident.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald,
But none of that mattered to Her Majesty’s Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency, who seemed to feel that while my colonial-trained driving skills were all very well for prissy American road conditions, here in Britain they would be measured, tested, and (undoubtedly) found wanting.
In the UK, driving is not an automatic rite of passage but a privilege that must be earned. Indeed, most years many more people fail than pass. The first hurdle is the written test, which includes a very fun video simulation that is (at least for mamas with on-the-job experience of four video-game savvy offspring) a LOT easier and not nearly as gory as Grand Theft Auto. The second test part is the usual series of written questions, most of which have one realistic answer mixed in with several answers composed by space aliens on crack, along the lines of: Continue reading
Since I don’t usually run my normal “features” during #ExcerptWeek, I didn’t share a #ThorsDaySmile yesterday, but I couldn’t resist this exuberant salute to the weekend! (Being a dachshund owner, this is a view I’m very familiar with!)
Thanks so much Marcia for allowing me to participate in your Excerpt Week promotion! Following is the blurb and excerpt from Round Trip Fare. —Barb
Warden Carey Parker’s to-do list is already long enough: find her brother and sister, rescue her roommate, save Null City, and castrate her ex-boyfriend. Preferably with a dull-edged garden tool. A rusty one.
Carey knows superpowers suck, her own included. From childhood she’s only had two options. She can take the Metro train to Null City and a normal life. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes. Or she can master the powers of her warrior gift and fight a war she can’t win, in a world where she never learned how to lose.
And then there is… him. For the past two months, a dark stranger has persistently edged his way onto the mental game board behind her eyelids. Well, whatever trouble he’s selling, Carey Parker is not buying.
She just has a few details to work out first. Her parents have been killed, her brother and sister targeted, and the newest leader of the angels trying to destroy Null City might be the one person she loves most in the world. And her sexy new partner’s gift lets him predict deaths. Hers.
It just would have been nice if someone told her the angels were all on the other side.
EXCERPT —Round Trip Fare
March 2011: Pike Place Market, Seattle
Carey slid low in the seat as Iax finally came out of the restaurant and turned toward the waterfront. To her surprise, the two watchers continued to stalk…him. So he hadn’t posted them to watch for her. Interesting. She slid from the jeep and shadowed the followers.
The attack came as Iax stepped around construction equipment at a building site in the next block. He spun around a second before the first one’s bow released, but the arrow must have missed as he was already ducking low and coming up with a knife. She narrowed her eyes. Probably too far for accuracy, but his throw managed a glancing slash on the attacker’s arm. Impressive. The knife wound was enough to cause the bow to droop as Iax sprinted toward him.
By then, the second tail had come around the far side of the giant yellow earthmover and was in position. But Iax wrapped arms around the first assailant and whirled him into the path of the new arrow. Not missing a step, he dove for the dropped crossbow, loaded from its attached quiver, and without taking any apparent time to aim, lodged an arrow in the second attacker’s throat. Very impressive. There was just one thing he missed.
Iax was bent over the second assailant when the third dropped from the scaffolding above him and hit the ground head-first with a meaty thump. “You missed one,” Carey told him. “You’re welcome.” She moved across the street until she was standing in front of him. “Excuse me? Can I get by?” Their eyes locked as each quietly palmed a knife, before he moved aside. She rolled the third assailant over and removed the knife from his throat, wiping it with the dead man’s shirt. “It’s one of my favorites.” Returning the knife to her boot, she turned and headed back to her jeep. “You coming?”
He got in heavily, and she started the engine. “Where to?”
When he didn’t answer, she turned to see him slumped against the door. The front of his jacket was wet. Guess that first arrow wasn’t a total miss after all. Well, hell. Marley would never let her hear the end of it if they had to replace the upholstery. Again. Continue reading
by Kassandra Lamb
I write a series of novellas called the Kate on Vacation cozy mysteries that parallels my main Kate Huntington Mystery series. I recently released the story of yet another of Kate’s vacations that got a bit more exciting than she’d planned.
That started me wondering how Kate feels about all this murder and mayhem in her life, so I sat down to have a chat with her. Here’s what she had to say:
Kassandra Lamb: You have a real propensity for stumbling over dead bodies, Mrs. Huntington. How do you feel about that?
Kate Huntington: Please, call me Kate. And honestly I don’t care for it all that much. I do like solving mysteries, but I wish there weren’t so many corpses involved. It gets kind of stressful after a while.
Kassandra: Have you always liked mysteries?
Kate: Yes, I loved puzzles as a kid, and I guess that’s part of what drew me to psychotherapy as a profession. I like to help people of course, but I’m fascinated by the puzzle that is the human psyche.
Kassandra: So in this latest adventure on Maui, except for the whole people-going-missing thing, how did you like Hawaii?
Kate: I loved it! Hawaii is absolutely gorgeous. And the people are very friendly. And the food! The mahi-mahi and the fresh pineapple… And once Skip was able to shake free from his work and he and the kids got there, we had so much fun.
Kassandra: Speaking of Skip and the kids, what’s the deal with your name? I notice you still use Huntington, which was your late first husband, Ed Huntington’s name, but sometimes you go by Huntington-Canfield, which is quite a mouthful.
Kate: Well, I’d already established my reputation as a therapist as Kate Huntington, so I use that name professionally. My daughter is my first husband’s biological child, so her name is officially Huntington-Canfield. At her school and in some other settings, I use the hyphenated name. And sometimes I just go by Kate Canfield.
By the way, why are you asking me this? You’re the one who saddled me with these cumbersome names. Why couldn’t you have made Eddie’s name Smith? Then I’d be Smith-Canfield. That rolls off the tongue so much easier. Continue reading
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