Happy Halloween from the staff of APL!

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Or as my friend Carrie says, NaNoUhOh. ;-)

This email was sent to my nearest and dearest today. I can't believe it's already October 31...

Hi y'all!

Here we go again. I can't believe I'm doing this. Seriously.

Four. This is gonna make the FOURTH time. Nutty.

As many of you know, November is going to be a very trying month for me. Sleepless nights, frazzled nerves, and various incoherent mumblings will probably become the norm for this normally saavy, smart, and happy gal.

Why, you ask?

Oh, you know why.

It's NaNoWriMo.

That's right. Wednesday, November 1 at midnight, the madness begins. Again.

But first, let's recap what NaNoWriMo is. It stands for the National Novel Writing Month. Basically, participants have 30 days (from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30) to write a 50,000 word novel. Let me say that again. 50,000 words. That's about 175 pages in Word. This is the kamikaze approach to novel-writing if ever there was.

Why, you ask?

Having a deadline, having a reason to do it, and having thousands of other people participating also encourages all those people (like me) who have always said "Eh, I'll write a novel…someday." Well, someday is today. This exercise is all about quantity, not quality. As such, I'm looking forward to writing a spectacularly okay novel about nothing terribly interesting. But it will be 50,000 words, by god! If you want to read more, the cool website about this insane exercise is here: www.nanowrimo.org

Only a few shorts days of my non-novel lifestyle are left, so I wanted to take the chance to apprise you all of several things...

November, I plan to have no life, save that in front of my computer. I plan to have calluses on my fingers and coffee stains on my teeth from writing as much as humanly possible and staying up late to do it. I plan to be constantly editing my outline, figuring out plot twists, and mumbling dialogue to myself in passing.

As such, I need your support in this trying time:

*Caffeinated beverages of any kind, at any time, will be warmly welcomed.

*Food I don't have to prepare myself is also a bonus - especially when delivered to my door. I have already programmed Domino's into my speed-dial for emergency backup.

*Don't plan on visiting the Priddis Pad in November - I won't be cleaning, doing laundry or tidying. I'll be writing. A lot.

*Thanksgiving may have to be forfeited if I fall behind. Sorry, Mum.

*Ask me to social events at your own risk - if I'm struggling with a plot point or am 10,000 words behind, this might be a dangerous venture.

*Visits (well, short ones) will be welcomed so that my eyes can adjust on something other than a computer screen, my fingers can uncramp, and I can interact with human beings. Always a bonus.

*If you think I totally blow as a novelist, keep it to yourself until at least December 1. Anytime during November (in my fragile state of being) I might be liable to go postal if anyone says anything like "Hey, that last chapter really blew goats!" or "Man, that main character is just really lame!". You see where I'm going with this.

I'm planning to post my fabulously average novel at the following blog site. Again, I remind you this story, frankly, will suck. But that's okay. :-)


Instructions, a cast list, and a synopsis are already there for your viewing pleasure. :-)

I appreciate all your support during this trying time, and again, keep those caffeinated beverages coming. ;-)



Wish me luck! :-)

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

(Mother and daughter, taken at this year's Relay for Life)

Get a mammogram. Walk in a Relay for Life. Donate to the cause. Wear a pink ribbon. Become informed. Hold a fundraiser. Tell your friends. Learn more.

Be fearless in the face of adversity.

Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult

As promised, this is the next book I tackled from Picoult's titles, and I was immediately sucked into the characters of this novel.

Jack was just released from prison and tries to start a new life, and a new love, for himself in Salem Falls. But when words gets out of his arrival in town, and four girls dabble in magic, things go awry in a hurry.

This is primarily another pre-courtroom and courtroom drama for which Picoult is famous, and there is a bit of a twist at the end, but I found myself waiting for the "twist", and it never really came. The ending was as I expected, and the twist unsurprising. However, I still really enjoyed this title, though I think it was one of her weaker ones for me.

Talk Nerdy to Me by Vicki Lewis Thompson

A new entry from the "Nerdy" series, and of course, it features wacky characters, silly plots, unexpected romance, sexy sex scenes and this time...a hovercraft. ;-)

These novels are pure escapist fun - there's no deep dark symbolism or lesson to be learned, just a laugh and a mini-vacation between the pages of a book.

I want a nerd of my own now. :-)

Miss Understanding by Stephanie Lessing

This is a fairly atypical chick lit title, though it does feature a women's magazine and New York City.

Zoe is determined to make Issues magazine a feminist voice in the wilderness, and this story becomes a her vs. them (them being the staff), with occasional support from her childlike sister, Chloe. Zoe battles sabotage, reconnects with an old friend, and finds herself in an unexpected new role.

While I applauded the different style of chick lit, I found the main character just a bit neurotic to really connect with - she has a litany of ailments, hardly seems to care for her devoted boyfriend, and the plot switches and changes in bizarre fashions, and I found myself struggling to find the real heart of the book.

An intriguing read in the chick lit section, though, for its sheer deviance from the norm.

Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben

After thoroughly enjoying The Innocent, I wanted to read another Coben novel, so I grabbed this paperback for my trip to Monterey.

Myron Bolitar (yeah, he makes fun of his own first name too) is a sports agent with a couple of top names, but when his top football player gets a call from his girlfriend, all hell breaks loose - because she was believed dead.

This is the first in the Bolitar series, and it sets up a great cast of characters (I was particularly taken with Win) and is full of witty dialogue and a crackling plot. I thoroughly enjoyed this title, and plan to read more in the series!

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Other than Coraline, I have never read anything by Gaiman, so Jessy recommended I give this adult title a shot.

I enjoyed Gaiman's words, and found myself pulled right into the story of Shadow - released from prison, finds his wife has died, and is pulled into a new world by a man named Wednesday, all on the same day.

As the book wore on, I found myself increasingly bored with the plot, and wished Gaiman would have injected a bit more action, a bit less self-meditating into the story, plus I was puzzled over some of the mythology that wasn't fleshed out to me.

An interesting premise, great narration, but a bit too long and slow for my taste.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Plainly put, this was a mindf#@% of a book.

It was weird, it was hard to read, and it made my brain hurt.

I skimmed a lot.

Very, very strange.

Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult

As you all know, I'm a huge devotee of Picoult's novels, and have been working my way through the titles in the last couple of years. I found this one on audio and thought I would give it a whirl.

Nina is a prosecutor, specializing in children's sexual abuse cases. So what happens to her family, her profession and her sanity when her own son is molested?

This is a twisting, turning tale through the eyes of a mother as her family disintegrates and she makes decisions that could change their lives forever.

This was another Picoult masterpiece, though oddly, probably one of my least favorite, though that could have been due to the delivery. Next up, I'm going to read Salem Falls from the Picoult oeuvre.

Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by Nancy Black. Black's narration was adequate, but I was distracted as hell when she kept slipping into an Australian dialect (her native tongue). She would be going along fine, and then bam, a Aussie accent. Weird.


In a couple of days, I'm hopping on a jet plane for the Internet Librarian 2006 Conference, held once again in Monterey, California.

I'm so psyched about the tracks being offered, the chance to get re-energized about all things techie in libraries, and to see beautiful Monterey again - plus, as a special treat, my dad is going to head out with me.

He loves Monterey and has always wanted to return, and after seeing it last year, I can see why.

I'm hoping to blog from the conference, but if not, I'll see you all when I return, armed with lots of things to say and photos to share!

Because THIS is what happens when you have a smartass marketing/community relations colleague at the library.

I asked for a tasteful sign for our new Regency/Historical Romance corner display.

Instead, I got this:


(Sadly, we didn't hang this for the public, but it's proudly on my office bulletin board now)

CIMG2526Yay! Jen came to visit!

Jen, she of the NIN love, cutie baby Layne, and fellow "300" drooler - I was so happy to have her visit TinyTown!

Plus, Becca had her Harmonie State Park bonfire this weekend, so Jen got to meet my TinyTown friends, we got to roast marshmallows and to enjoy the warmth of the fire (because it got MIGHTY nippy that evening!).

There was a great crowd at the bonfire, Jen and I got to catch up, and it was nice to just have a relaxing weekend with friends.CIMG2532

What a great weekend!

(The entire photo set is here)

Our library building turned 20 years old on October 12.

Naturally, we love any excuse for cake!

The cake, the punch AND the gift card drawing were a hit!

We were completely cleaned out of goodies by mid-afternoon, and we loved having everyone along to celebrate!


The first year I moved to TinyTown, my friend Becca INSISTED that I go to the Audubon Craft Fair with her, the first week in October.

Shopping? Crafty shopping?

Naturally, she didn't have to twist my arm. ;-)

This year, we were lucky enough to make a return trek to the craft fair, which is held in a beautiful state park and features billions of crafty tents, big food and gorgeous weather.

We ate, we shopped, we ate and we shopped.

(I mean, c'mon, lemon shakeups, curly potato chips, pork chop sandwiches AND roasted whole ear corn? Woot!)

It was a perfect day for a good friend, good food, and good finds!

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So, during the first week of October, I took a week's vacation, and boy did I need it.

No big plans, just a visit from the fam, a trip to the Evansville Fall Festival, a chance to clean the house and work on a few writings.

It was sunny skies, a leisurely week, a great visit with the parentals, a chance to barbecue, to eat a chocolate covered cricket, to hug a mascot (which you KNOW I can't resist!), to read books and to just BREATHE.

A few of my fave vacation snaps...

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(The entire photo set is here)

Shotgun Bride by Linda Lael Miller

This is the second in the McKettrick trilogy (the first being High Country Bride, which I recently read), the western adventure/romance-y series.

Once again, I enjoyed the action, setting, characters and conflict of this title. This is not, as Nancy Pearl famously said, simply a "bodice ripper/throbbing manhood" book, but is much more about conflict and resolution, and the challenges of living in the west in the 1880s. There are outlaws, a wedding, a funeral and a new town marshal, as well as the woman hiding as a nun...

I plan to pick up the third soon! Recommended, particularly if you've never tried the western romance genre. :-)

Nancy Pearl and I!

I had the great opportunity to attend a Reader's Advisory workshop today, led by the delightful Nancy Pearl!

For those not firmly entrenched in the library world, Nancy Pearl is the model librarian in many ways - founder of the "One Book" movement, a commentator for NPR, model for the librarian action figure, and the author of Book Lust and More Book Lust.

We dished on books, ways to advise patrons of suggested (not recommended!) reads, the mood and motivation of reading, as well as the "big four" appeals (character, story, setting, language). It was informative, interesting, and I have a lot more titles in my "To Be Read" pile!

Nancy was gracious and helpful, and I really enjoyed the workshop! Naturally, I got an autographed book, and a picture with the promise "I'm blogging this!"

Nancy has been a total librarian rock star in my book for ages - what a treat today!

Okay, it's official.

I'm obsessed with the new trailer for Frank Miller's "300".

Already have massive crush on Stelios, played by Michael Fassbender ("We will fight in the shade..."), love the graphics and slo-mo, and love that they used Nine Inch Nails "Just Like You Imagined" (from The Fragile) as the trailer music.

March 2007 is suddenly really far away.

Watch the teaser trailer right here.



And I lurve it!

I can rock the pigtails, side swoopy bangs, pulled back style, rock star messed up look, straightened and blown out, or messed up and curly, and more!

(Ignore the atrocity of the picture - florescent lights in a hair salon are NEVER flattering)


You just can't find a blue like that in any crayon box.

I took a week off from work last week, just to entertain the family, to clean, to eat Fall Festival food, read books (hence the burst of book reviews), quilt, forgot about work, and enjoy skies just like this one.

More soon!

Flashpoint by Suzanne Brockmann

Brockmann is one of those authors that I hear about, then forget, so while I saw her name in a publisher blurb the other day, I went and grabbed this novel (which I believe is a stand-alone title).

As it turns out, I really loved this suspense title. I thought Brockmann would be mostly sex with some suspense, but the opposite is true - this is a fast and furious suspense novel with a lot of plot, a serious purpose, and just enough sex and romance to keep the wheels turning.

I devoured this title, and really enjoyed the blend of macho war games with feminine romance. I plan to read more from this author - recommended!

The Mediator #6: Twilight by Meg Cabot

So I was all psyched to read this next Mediator book, only to find out afterwards that it was the last one!

But it was great. :-)

This novel nicely ties up all the loose ends of Cabot's other Mediator books...her father, her ghostly boyfriend, and her life in California as a mediator. As always, Cabot's book was sharp and funny, well-written and engaging. I read it in one sitting!

I really recommend this YA series - it's great!

gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

This is, simply, a fantastic read.

A blend of chick lit, Southern fiction and suspense, I found myself completely pulled in from the very first line (which you just have to read for yourself).

What happens when a woman makes promises to God, and then ten years later, rescinds her promises as things begin to twist and fall apart? Read this amazingly written novel to find out. It has murder, mystery, a sexy boyfriend, family woes and more all woven into the pages. A brilliant novel, all the more so as it is Jackson's debut.

Highly recommended!

Stranded in Paradise by Lori Copeland

I work in a library where Christian fiction is read voraciously - just not by me.

I decided it was time to bite the bullet and try a recommended title in this genre...

Hrm. What to say, here. The plot was predictable and boring, the characters one dimensional, and the sudden conversion to Christianity expected but not particularly uplifting or understood. I can see why people enjoy "faith" books - they are clean, easy to read and so forth - but whether this had a Christian bent or not, I just found it...kinda shoddy.

Of course, now I'm going to hell for saying that...

I hope to read a few other Christian titles in the future, but I certainly won't be recommending this particular one very often...

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

This is book two in the Eye of the World fantasy series I promised myself I would reread this year.

Okay, so it's October and I just finished book 2 of 11, but whatever.

This series is pretty much all I read in college between classes, and I feel a blend of sentimentality and excitement in rereading them - seeing some of the plot lines beginning to twist, and knowing more about the outcome of certain characters. Though a very LONG series (this is one of the short books, at 700 pages), the depth and development, and lots of detail, make it a great one.

My friend Eric just alerted me to Jordan's health woes, however. :-(

If you want to try a fantasy series, and only one, try this one.