Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer of Music

There are few things I like better than listening to live music - well, good live music, anyway.

Musically, it's been a fantastic summer. I went to Lilith Fair with my sister, Cait, and while there saw Suzanne Vega and Sarah McLaughlin (also saw Miranda Lambert and still wish I could get that hour of my life back...but I digress) as well as a few newer acts. Other than the heat (and Lambert - there's really only so much I need to know about her love of her daddy, tattoos, Bacardi and Jesus), it was great.

A few weeks ago, my mom and I went to see Natalie MacMaster play. That woman was beyond amazing. Anyone who can play Celtic fiddle, while step dancing is astounding. Anyone who can do those two things while six months pregnant with her fourth child (and not miss a beat) is mind boggling.

Last night, Cait and I went to see Brandi Carlile. If you're not familiar with Carlile's work, I guess I'd classify her as folk-rock. The venue is great - I've seen several other shows there. It's an outdoor amphitheater in a botanical garden and sculpture park. It's the kind of place where you can have a picnic while enjoying the show. The people watching and the sing-a-long were great too. But hanging out with my sister best part - well, that and Brandi - who, incidentally, Cait is in love with. So...Brandi...if you're out there...and available, have I got the girl for you. :)

So, did anyone else see any good shows this summer?

Friday, August 20, 2010

More appealing than peanut butter

Yes, I am more appealing than peanut butter - but more on that in a minute.

Today, while trying to work on my WIP, I considered muzzling my youngest son and locking him in a closet.

Corwin: I know you're trying to work, but do you think we'd survive the zombie apocalypse? How would we kill them? I mean, it's not like we have tactical nukes just lying around. Do you think the Marines have special zombie killing training? Do you think cats would be an effective fighting force against zombies? What if cats were zombies? Would zombie cats purr? I bet it would be more of a meow-moan. Meo-oooan, meo-oooan, meo-oooan. (Sound effects complete with shambling around my work area.) I wonder if zombies would like the smell of salt and vinegar potato chips or if it would repel them like it does my brother.

Me: *blink blink blink* (typing exchange along with muzzling and closet threat to Brynn via IM) Tactical nukes are always a bad idea - even for zombies.

Brynn helpfully sent back a list of responses to Corwin's questions.

1.) Don't give them brains. Barring that, decapitation.
2.) Zombies, Al Qaeda, very similar. No special training needed.
3.) No to the cats. They do what they want and leave you in the lurch. (Actually, she originally typed lunch before correcting it - Freudian/Zombie slip?
4.) No, they growl.
5.) Yes, they like it - especially on your breath because it's close to your brain.

Brynn: Betcha didn't think I knew all this.

Me: I'm impressed. And deeply surprised.

Brynn: This is why I'll survive the zombie apocalypse. I've been tested. I know. And were sacrificed. They like you more than peanut butter.

Me: There's a test? What test is this?

Brynn: One I took on Facebook about six months ago.

Me: Huh. I do like to think I'm more appealing than peanut butter...

Brynn: I haz teh zombie knowledge.

Corwin is still shambling around the room holding Willow (who's looking mighty confused) and saying Meo-oooan, meo-oooan, meo-oooan, meo-oooan.

Yeah...this book is moving right along.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Over at the Evo blog, we're discussing our creative outlets other than writing. Come over and visit...there are pictures. Not as good as milk and cookies, I know, but it's the best I can do via the internet. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Conversations with 4 year olds

Today, Cait and I tag-team babysat our niece and nephew. I filled in for her while she went to a doctor's appointment, and I had this conversation with my niece about her inflatable pool.

Madelynn: It needs more air. It's all floppy.

Me: Sorry kiddo - you're going to have to use it as is. I don't have an air compressor to fill it.

Madelynn: (leading me into the garage an pointing at the gimundo size compressor sitting on a very high shelf.) You can use this!

Me: But your Daddy isn't home right now, and I can't use that without talking to him first because it belongs to him.

Madelynn: No it doesn't.

Me: Then who does it belong to?

Madelynn: You!

Me: Oh really...

Madelynn: Yes. (Clearly trying to think of something fast.) You forgot and left it here last time. So now you can fix my pool.

Yeah...that kid is gonna go places in life. I'm just hoping it's not to jail.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Come and visit me...please?

I'm guest blogging over at the Erotic Romance Reader while the lovely Janna is on vacation in France. I'm sharing a tale of vacation gone awry...yes, Molly, it's the subway story. :D

Please drop by and visit. Also, she's running an awesome contest, so anyone who leaves a comment is entered! :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In case you had a burning desire to know

what my favorite Otherworldly creatures are, you can find out at the Evo blog, where I babble, possibly incoherently, because it's really freaking late. And I've had a long, long, very long day with the day job.

But on the plus side, there's some fantastic art over there!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Why, yes. I am a giant nerd. But so are my friends, so it's all good.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across information that said that Brian Froud and his wife Wendy were coming to Traverse City for a book signing. I just about hyperventilated. I've always wanted to meet them.

Brian is my very favorite artist and Wendy is a brilliant sculptor, specializing in dolls and puppets. We have her to thank for Yoda and many of the creatures in Dark Crystal and Labyrinth.

I packed twenty-two books and three DVDs into my giant tote bag. Then, out of morbid curiosity, I weighed it. Thirty-one pounds of pure awesomeness. Matt looked at me, shook his head and muttered "freak" and Killian asked if I was worried that they'd think I was a stalker. I told him that I prefer to think of it as helping to pay their salary and Matt just looked at me and said, that my rationalization skills didn't make me any less of a freak.


So, on Saturday, I piled into the car with Jen and our friends Emily and Becky for a brief road trip. Jen and Em only brought a few things, but I felt somewhat vindicated to see that Becky's bag was almost as heavy as mine.

When we got to Traverse City, there was no parking to be had. Every available spot was taken, and I swear we drove around the city for hours looking. Okay, it was only about fifteen minutes, but driving in new cities (especially those with a ridiculous amount of one way streets and heavy foot traffic) wigs me out. There was some kind of wooden boat regatta going on (I don't know if it was an actual regatta. I just like saying that word.) and there were tons of people everywhere. There were also signs that said, Don't Even Think Of Parking Here. I finally pulled over in the middle of a crowded back alley-parking lot-esque thing and told Jen it was her turn to drive.

After not-so-subtly mocking me, Jen took the wheel and drove around some more. After about the third pass, someone spotted an empty spot. Jen yelled for someone to get out and stand in the parking spot. So Becky jumped out, losing her shoe in the process. As she reached in to grab it, Jen yelled, "Green light, gotta go!" and hit the gas leaving Becky standing in the road.

After we circled the block, we made it back to the only free parking spot in the city - the spot that Becky, wearing only one shoe, was bravely guarding. Jen tried to maneuver into the spot only to realize that she can't parallel park.

Unfortunately neither can I.

Nor can Emily.

So it was Becky to the rescue. Again.

Jen hopped out and Becky hopped in and parked the car. Unfortunately, the dude behind us thought were leaving and was pissed to discover that we were taking the spot he clearly wanted. Too bad. So sad.

On the hike to the bookstore, we tried to find a bathroom. No luck and Becky was kind enough to help me carry my books because I'd chosen then to have an asthma attack. I'm nothing if not pain in the ass.

Finally...finally we made it to the bookstore. The lovely, lovely bookstore. And there they were - Brian and Wendy Froud. Looking remarkably like their author photos - which in and of itself is pretty amazing. And zOMG, they were so nice. Granted, they looked a little surprised by the number of books and DVDs we (okay, mostly Becky and I) brought with us, but they were so sweet and friendly and graciously signed every single one of them - even though I felt like a bit of an ass at that point. And Brian doodled goblins and elves and spriggans in each book - and different ones every time, too.

My husband pointed out to me that I'd hugely increased the value of the collection - especially the out of print ones. I suppose, but it's not like I'm going to sell them. But I'll admit to being curious enough to check the going prices for the OOP ones on ebay. (50$-300$ and none of them were signed.)

Being a nice mama, I did ask Wendy to sign the Empire Strikes Back dvd to Killian and Corwin.

After we got everything signed, we took a few pictures then went to grab a bite to eat before heading home. I'm so glad we went. I have amazing friends. And now I also have an amazing collection of signed books and DVDs.

Here's a pic of the awesome collection along with some of the doodles.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The things you discover about your family...

I don't remember how it came up, but we were all sitting around the campfire on vacation and someone mentioned Prohibition and how the itty bitty hotel in the rural town my dad grew up in had its own Speakeasy - only here in Michigan, they didn't call them speakeasies - they were called blind pigs. The fact that the hotel had a blind pig didn't surprise me, but I was a little startled to discover that my Great-Grandpa Elmer was a whiskey runner. Apparently, the family cattle truck had a false bottom used to hide booze. The best natured cows got lots of rides as a cover for illegal deliveries.

So I was asking my mom this morning if she knew about that. My parents divorced when I was pretty young, so I wasn't sure if she'd known that or not. For the record, she didn't, but she did have some more interesting family history for me. Evidently, my maternal Great Grandparents made their own booze and sold it. Great-Grandma Johanna made bathtub beer and Great-Grandpa Englebert had a still down behind the chicken coop and their oldest two sons used to drive the stuff to a nearby town where the men gathered for "meetings" between their two Sunday services. From all accounts, the evening services were more interesting than the morning one.

Good to know I come from enterprising stock. ;)

Here are a few more vacation pictures if anyone wants to have a peek.

Indian Lake at sunset.

The Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse in Gulliver, MI. It's the last working lighthouse on the northern shore of Lake Michigan.
The creepy, creepy stairs in the lighthouse. I realized that at about 70ish feet up, I'm kinda scared of heights. Actually, the going up was fine. The going down was freaking terrifying - especially crawling through the hatchways in the upper two levels. Yeah, I have no idea what I was thinking either.

Beach at Au Train.
Lake Superior at Au Train.
Just a random lake along highway 123 in the UP.
Lake Superior shoreline. I love this picture. :)
Lookit all the pretty stones on the beach! I was in rock picker heaven. Anyone sensing a theme here?
Lake Superior at Whitefish Point. One of my very favorite spots.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A pile of randomness

So many bits of randomness to share today. . .

First off, the freaking fantastic Kris Norris made me a shiny new book trailer for Moonlit Menage - you can see it here. I'd put it on the blog, but I always end up screwing something up, and it rarely works right, so I'm jut putting up the link.

Secondly, fellow Michigan author, and all around awesome person, Roxanne Roads, has graciously allowed me to guest post on her Fangtastic Books blog and offer a contest. I'd love it if you stopped by and said hi and enter the contest. :)

And lastly, my washing machine is on the fritz. Actually, it's old and tired and sick of the insane amounts of laundry I force it to do every week. Last night, it stopped in the middle of a load and I went downstairs to fiddle with it and had the following conversation that Chris said I had to post.

Me: (in the basement) C'mon sweetie. I know you're tired, but can't you just hang in there with me? Just until tax time?

Matt: (yelling through down the laundry chute that's under the bathroom sink on the first floor) Who are you talking to?

Me: The washing machine. I'm trying to convince it that it has something to live for.

Matt: (a long period of silence followed by the door to the laundry chute door slowing closing, then a squeak as it's wrenched back open) Is it working?

For those of you who may be wondering, the washing machine was swayed by my pleas and began working again.


EDIT: We're currently looking for a name for our esteemed laundry companion - actually, we're just hoping that the right name and the proper amount of respect and gratitude will keep it running for a few more months. So c'mon people, help me name that washing machine.

All suggestions are welcome!!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back from vacation!

I spent a glorious week up in the U.P. with the fam. It was my dad and stepmom, my brother and his fam, my stepbrother and his fam, my other stepbrother, my sil's dad, and because my dad and stepmom get along so well with my mom, she was invited too! Best. Family. Ever.

It was amazing and relaxing and I so wish I were still there! But I did miss my friends and my kitties...

We took an amazing mine tour to see bat habitats, but I'll post more about that later in the week. (I'm sure Chris is thrilled by this prospect.) We also spent some quality time in Lake Michigan, at Lake Superior (the water is too damn cold to swim in!) at a few local lighthouses and on Indian Lake. I took a ridiculous amount of pictures - over 500! Thank goodness for digital cameras! But I promise not to bore you with all of them - just a select few. ;)

Sunset on Indian Lake where we spent the weekSunset on Indian Lake
Kitch-iti-kipi a.k.a. Big Spring
Kitch-iti-kipi a.k.a. Big Spring
Lake Michigan shore line in Manistique, MI.

The lighthouse at Manistique, MI - northern shore of Lake MI

Sunday, August 1, 2010

And the winner is...

First off, thank you to everyone who stopped by and commented on the interviews - you guys rock! And thank you also to Charlotte, Jessica and Rachel! I hope everyone gets a chance to read their stories. :)

Genella, to answer your music question I had a special Moonlit Menage playlist that included artists like Kate Rusby, Kate Price, Loreena McKennitt, Abney Park, Circa Paleo, Elvendrums, S.J. Tucker and Susan McKeown.

Now...on to the winner! Corwin, my son who likes to help me pick contest winners, has chosen!

Actually, he's chosen two winners...because he "likes even numbers better."

So, would Michelle and daydrmzzz please email me at and let me know what formats you'd like of my Celtic Fire collection?