Kimono 2

My Top 10 Chick Flicks of All Time


La Femme Nikita (the original)

La Belle et la Bête

Gone With the Wind

Wing Chun

Kill Bill: Vol. I


The Curse of the Cat People


All About Eve

Some will notice the absence of Labyrinth and The Princess Bride on this list. They both share the same flaw: the female character is no match for her male counterpart. Simple changes to the script could have made them characters I could love, rather than just objects to ignore.
I squee unicorns

The Top YA of the Year

When I tried to answer the question posed in this post, I found myself in agony trying to choose just ONE title from the YA genre to recommend.  The answer I settled on was the one that kept popping in my head over and over again:

If I could have read one – ONLY one – of the YA novels that came out in 2009, I would have chosen FIRE by Kirsten Cashore. 

But that was hardly the only title WORTH reading this year, so the choice wasn't easy, on top of which there are many still sitting on my TBR pile that come so highly recommended that I might change my mind after reading them.  So here is my recommended short list of...



FIRE by Kirsten Cashore


BLOOD PROMISE by Richelle Mead


And here are books from my TBR and CURRENTLY READING piles that come HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

LIAR by Justine Larbalestier

WINTERGIRLS by Laure Halse Anderson

THE DEMON'S LEXICON by Sarah Rees Brennan

RAMPANT by Diana Peterfreund


ANDROMEDA KLEIN by Frank Portman

TRICKS by Ellen Hopkins

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia

ASH by Malinda Lo

CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins


NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL by Justina Chen Headley

FADE by Lisa McMann

SHINE, COCONUT MOON by Neesha Meminger



Basically, it's been a hell of a year for Young Adult Fiction, and if you aren't reading it, you're missing out on some of the best contemporary writing on the planet.


A pleasing snippet before bed

Posting something I've just written before I go to bed.  Love that fresh feeling when something is new, and its flaws not yet uncovered. 





I stood by the window, the view stark. The trees wept from the loss of their shelter of leaves, limbs bent heavy with grief toward the dead earth. Beyond the orchard, a wall barred me from the world beyond my sealed fortress, my only glimpse of it more haggard limbs stretching desperately for a sky they would never reach. I turned away from the window. The prison in which I was trapped was suffocating me breath by tired breath, but there was nothing better beyond it to save me.


The Scary Path

When I was a teenager, I used to have a prayer.  I would kneel beside my bed every night and say, "Dear Heavenly Father, please bless me that I might grow as a human being evenifithurtsinthenameofJesusChrist,amen!"  And then I would quickly hop into bed, half-hoping I hadn't been heard...and half-hoping I had.

Fifteen years later, I do not pray by my bedside anymore, but I do reflect on where my life has gone from time to time, and when I reflected on it today, I found myself writing the following Thanksgiving note...

I am grateful to be where I am, with the one who I am with, living the life I want to lead. When I contemplate having taken any other path, I cannot bear the idea of not having taken the risks I did, not having found the path I needed, and especially not having ended up with him, the most important person in my life.  The things that scare you are the things most worth seeking out -- the safe things, the ones most likely to quietly, slowly destroy you.  On this day, before Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful for having the guts to walk away from a "safe" and unbearable existence, one that would have inevitably destroyed me, and into the arms of my present happiness.

May I always keep growing as a human being, and may I never, never pray to take the easy path.


The first blush, before it fades...

Tomorrow I will feel differently, but right now I kind of like this chapter opening – so much that I wish it was the opening of my manuscript.

What really pissed me off afterwards, more than anything else (and there was so damn much that pissed me off about that night by the time it was done), was the fact that I didn't even have time to dwell on the mind-bending revelation that we were being attacked by a freaking vampire.

What this meant, what it changed, how much it mattered all had to be left for some later time when I had hours or centuries to ponder uninterrupted the profundity of undead immortality.

At the moment, all I wanted was for me and my friends to get out of there alive--and, hopefully, with all our veins in tact. That was the only goal pounding in my aching, battered brain as I rolled on the floor with a base guitar player who was turning out to be a bigger wuss than X's flimsy twig of a girlfriend. I managed to get on top and pin him down, laying in another punch that radiated pain right up to my elbow, but left a beautiful, satisfying red mark right on the jerk's eye.

Hands dragged me off of my human punching bag as the other band members joined the fist party, the cocky expressions on their faces suggesting they thought they weren't going to turn out as bad as their buddy had. What they didn't know was that I'd been expelled from two middle schools before Mama moved us to [removed] and I finally calmed down. In one case, I'd beat up a sadist who'd targeted me during dodgeball. In the other, I'd shown two wanna-be gangsters why it wasn't safe to assume you could win a fight just cause you brought a knife to school. Instead of chewing me out like most dads would chew out most daughters, mine had gone around bragging that he'd taught me all my moves.

So I wasn't exactly prepared to lose, and didn't really realize I had lost, until A and Z had me pinned to the floor. B, still looking every bit the brooding--actually, more like cranky at the moment--drummer, bent down over my head, wrapped one hand around my chin, and got a firm grip on my hair with the other. I flashed back to [name removed], laying in the grass, his head ripped right off his shoulders.

I shut my eyes, hoping that decapitation was a whole lot less painful than I imagined it being.

The Writer's Plea

 Are you angry, Muse?  Standing at a distance, your glance so cold.  Won't you try for me, Muse?  This favor I ask:  Let me write a book I can publish.  I know it's fun, the way we've worked together in the past.  Following a whim, writing on impulse.  I know the power of words I've found without planning, scenes that explode full and rich from the mind, like Athena from Father Zeus.  But scenes are not plot, dear Muse, and without the latter, the former is nothing more than a mermaid who teases you from beneath the water, inviting you to fling yourself into her arms with promises of rapture that she will not fulfill.  They are a seduction, Muse, but they will not satisfy you in the end.

 Please come to me, faithless prince, and try for me something new.  Try, this once, to be tamed and obedient, so that I may harness your full potential.  Don't you want them to see your strength, the sublime beauty of your wordplay, your clever twists and triumphant turns? 

 Do not tell me, my fragile Muse, that you are frightened I will fail.  Do not look at me with wild eyes fearing betrayal.  Have we not come this far?  Have I not, for you, bled my soul into a thousand pages and then a thousand more?  Will I not bleed for many times more than that, if I must, until you come again to my side?

 Come to me willing, Muse.  I cannot force your grace from my pen.  There is so much to say of the world, so much beauty to adore, so much sorrow to ease and darkness to lay bare.  This world, bursting with life and tragedy and miraculous strength.  There is nothing I desire more than to share it, through words simple and honest and clear.  Your words.  Our words.  Will you not help me?


I Need Four Hands and Two Lives

Some of my favorites titles which, as of yet, do not have an idea, much less a plot:

Blue Jean Sexy
The Year of Dreaming
7even for 7even
Army of Bones
Britches Brew
Freshman Lover's Club
The High School Dreadful
My Kingdom After Hours
Pet's Shop of Children
Rainbow Tears
Heretics for Hire
Red Freedom
My Third Life
I Could Go on Dying
Death Versus Dracula
Grab the Coconut and Swim
Home Town Cow
The Name in the Snow
Lyra and the Dreadful Necromiter
Knaves of Ten

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Kimono 2



Apparently, I can't resist making covers for books that don't exist.  Now to see if I can resist writing them.









These covers were made by mostly obeying the following MEME instructions from Daphne Unfeasible's blog:


1 - Go to Fake Name Generator. The name that appears is your author name.


2 - Go to Random Word Generator. The word listed under “Random Verb” is your title.


3 - Go to FlickrCC. Type your title into the search box. The first photo that contains a person is your cover.


4 - Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar (I use Snagit Editor) to put it all together. Be sure to crop and/or zoom in, as desired.


5 - Post it to your site along with this text.

Bit chilly






I will tell you why I loved the death of Ianto Jones. 

There is a family out there that watches Torchwood, a quiet, small town family with small town values.  They have long watched Doctor Who, which opened the door for them to the edgier content of Torchwood.  While they could not bring themselves to approve of the racier content or some of the relationships, they kept watching and even grew to like the characters.

Before long, they will receive the DVD of the new Torchwood mini-series and sit down to watch it – perhaps as a marathon, perhaps one a night.  Some of their grown children may be with them, home from college for the summer or further-flung locations.  Among them is a young man with dreams of New York and a world beyond the small town.  But New York is a very big place and for now, he settles for the suffocating but safer world of home.

When the scene comes and Ianto crumples to the ground, when Jack holds him in his arms, tears streaming down his face, the hearts of these small town folk will be watching.  They will feel his tears.  In spite of all their fears, in spite of the hatred they've been taught to embrace, a small wound will be torn open in their hearts for a character they have grown to love.

Maybe, just maybe, they will turn to the boy sitting on the couch next to them and tell them how much they love him for who he is.  How painful it would be to lose him.  How it doesn't matter who he holds in his arms.  He is and always will be their sacred child.

I love the death of Ianto Jones because sometimes fiction can convey the truths that cannot be spoken of any other way.  You are in my heart, Ianto Jones, just as that small-town boy always has been.  Maybe your death can help him find the life he yearns to live.