Well, it's over for another year.

Last night, I crossed the finish line of 50,000 words with 14 to spare.

It's been a month of having days with no words to show for it, and then having marathon days where I would write 11,000 words in the span of a few hours.

I'm proud of my novel, proud that I finished with a couple of days to spare, and I hope everyone following along has had a giggle or two at my silly little story, which I just happen to love.

Thanks so much for all your well wishes, encouragement, and feedback. I treasure every comment about this little adventure.

Well, I'm four for four in NaNoWriMo...time to start counting the days until next year! :-)

226946526_01f6c4aca1_oInstead of using my Monday afternoon off to do sensible things (clean, pack, dishes, whatever), I decided to go see Casino Royale, the new James Bond movie.

I heart James Bond movies, so I was terribly interested to see Daniel Craig as the new Bond.

In a word: magnificent.

Craig's portrayal of Bond is different from the others... rougher around the edges, much more physical, a nice mix of dashing and daring, and terribly human.

The action scenes were fantastic, the writing better than usual, the interplay with the "Bond Girl" not as condescending as the past, Chris Cornell sings the opening song (Chris Cornell!) and you just can't take your eyes off Craig - who, by the way, put on 20 pounds of muscle for the role and hot damn, he's fine.

I think his eyes are so blue they glow in the dark.

In short, what the critics are saying is right - a new era of Bond is here, and Daniel Craig is the perfect man to play him.

Y'all HAVE to see this movie!

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

What a great YA novel!

Jane and Allison have always been best friends, but when Ally shows up to school without her mousy appearance, steals Jane's boyfriend and won't speak to Jane at all, we know something is up.

Oh yeah, she totally sold her soul to the devil. ;-)

This is a fast-paced, smartly written YA novel that shows that friendship is more powerful than the devil, why I'll never trust another cupcake, and that your soul really is the most important thing you have - especially in high school.

A great read! Recommended!


Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, and the entire 48 team are the new Nascar Nextel Cup Champions.

It's been a long time coming, and I've never been prouder to be a fan.

I cried as Jimmie crossed the finish line, and I'm still smiling at the image of Jimmie, Chad and the boys celebrating their greatest victory.

Congratulations on an amazing year, an amazing team, and an amazing accomplishment.

Team Lowe's...


Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews

I am a big fan of Andrews' other books (like Hissy Fit), so I was happy to see a Christmas novel from this popular Southern author!

This is unlike most Christmas stories - it does not have a "message", the voice of God or a touchy-feely feeling. Instead, it has a decorating competition, gay boys, stolen food and a lot of vintage clothes.

My kind of Christmas story!

This was a very cute, very fun story that was easy to read and definitely nudged me in the direction of the holidays!

I think it's time for another installment of Sheriff's Reports from TinyTown...

(word for word from the newspaper...)
  • Intoxicated subject called and reported he just committed burglary and is headed to [town name]

  • Subject tried to take something from the junkyard and is now hung up

  • Subjects sitting along road playing loud music

  • Someone threw eggs on car

  • Heard gunshot near trailer court, may be shooting at a opossum that tried to attack a child
Big cities have murders and rapes, arson and domestic abuse.

We have honest burglars, junkyard thieves and apparently a really ferocious possum.

Gotta love small towns. :-)


I just passed the halfway mark in my NaNoWriMo novel!

Eat my wordcount! ;-)

Edge of Evil by J.A. Jance

I've never read any of Jance's novels, but after hearing her speak at Internet Librarian, I thought I better check out the one that brought her to the conference - the novel in which her main character starts a blog.

I could see that Jance took a lot of aspects from her own life (based on her talk) and used them in this title - relationships with husbands, blogging to the public, and the use of Arizona as a location. I enjoyed this mystery title (which is not part of a series), and the use of blog entries and emails to keep the story moving forward bit by bit.

A solid mystery novel, and I might check out another Jance novel in the future.

Last weekend, we had our FOURTH annual APL Friends Gala & Auction with a special bonus this year... a murder mystery, starring a talented cast of folks from TinyTown (yes, including me).

We raised over $3300 in our silent and live auctions (all donated baskets and items), we had yummy nibbles and background music, everyone looked snazzy in their party duds, and the murder mystery was a ROUSING success!

I was so proud. :-)

This is one of our big fundraising events each year (besides the obligatory book sales), and everyone has a great time, and it's a great feather in the cap for APL!

I'd love to know what other "snazzy events" libraries put on to raise money, because I think ours ROCKS for such a small town. :-)

In any case, a few pictures of our theatrical production...

(BTW, I played a REALLY enthusiastic cop who rushed over to the "murder scene" while she was waiting for CSI to come on, hence the pajama bottoms)





The Gift by Nora Roberts

It occured to me the other day that Christmas is only SIX weeks away, and as such, it was time to start getting in the spirit of things - at least in the book world. :-)

I haven't read many Christmas novels (or novellas, usually) so I thought I would give it a good shot this year, and had several recommended by our Bookmobile Lady, the first being The Gift, which is actually two shorter stories in one novella.

If you've read any Nora Roberts, this book is little different - conflict, romance and resolution - but with a Christmas backdrop. The first story was very nice, but I much preferred the second...when two little boys wish for a mom (and bikes!) for Christmas, and a wife for their dad.

Very sweet start to the holiday season!

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Loved, loved, LOVED this book!

I was totally won over by Green's first YA novel, Looking for Alaska, so I was eager to get my hands on his follow up YA novel, and it did not disappoint!

I loved the premise, the writing, the characters (particularly the best friend Hassan!), the setting, and the fact that this book made me laugh OUT LOUD repeatedly - the sign of a great story.

Colin and Hassan have graduated high school and decide to take a road trip to help Colin forget about the 19th Katherine that has dumped him (seriously). What follows is a small town, a new job, a wild boar, a pretty girl and a lot of anagrams.

And an appendix full of theorems. ;-)

I tore through this novel, and I just loved it - highly recommended!

The Keep by Jennifer Egan

What an odd book.

This has been described as "deliciously creepy", but I have to say, I don't agree. I was drawn in by the cover and a few positive reviews I'd read online, and thought a dark and gothic novel, set in a castle in Eastern Europe, would be a nice change of pace from my normal fare.

Instead, I found myself a bit disappointed, and a touch confused, by the plot that spins around itself. Though some of Egan's descriptions and prose is wonderful, I was completely put off by some of the "narrator's" mediocre writing and the style she used to insert dialogue between characters, which I found jarring and annoying. The ending left me cold, and I didn't care what happened to a single character in the novel, which is never a good sign for me.

Though intriguing at first, by the end I simply didn't care. Not my cup of tea...

The First Counsel by Brad Meltzer

As this was Election Season, and because I'm still waiting for Season 7 of West Wing (which I suspect will be a Christmas present and thus I shouldn't buy it for myself), I thought I would try one of Meltzer's novels set in and around the White House.

Michael Garrick works in the Counsel's office and has become involved with the President's only daughter. Through a series of events, Garrick finds himself the suspect of murder and on the run until he can prove his innocence, while trying to preserve his new relationship.

I really enjoyed the Washington intrigue of this novel, and the ending was not at all what I expected. I found Meltzer a bit "jumpy" at times (almost like I felt I'd missed reading a few paragraphs or something), but it was a solid book, and had a good mystery. Recommended!

This is when my political science geekdom rears its ugly head.

Brad Ellsworth was the FIRST Democrat pickup in the US House of Representatives! Congrats on winning the "Bloody 8th" away from John Hostettler!

He beat Hostettler by a HUGE margin, and I've been grinning like an idiot all night as I've been glued to the television, watching the election coverage. And then after watching Ellsworth's acceptance speech, I've been reading CNN and Wonkette all night, refreshing for the latest updates.

Oh yes, big geek, right here.

(In other news, Baron Hill beat Mike Sodrel in the Indiana 9th - woot!)

In any case, how rad was it to see Ellsworth on stage with Jonathan Weinzapfel (Democratic mayor Evansville, and Posey County boy) and Evan Bayh, one of Indiana's senators and (hopefully) a presidential candidate one day? That's a good group, there.

And can I just say, as a total aside, that that is a trio of fine-looking political men?

CNN is predicting the Dems will pick up the seats they need to control the House, so I'm crossing fingers for the Senate as well. Go Virginia, Missouri, Montana and Tennessee! You can do it!

Happy, happy election night!


Go vote today! It's your right...use it responsibly.

I'm watching Election Night with baited breath, as I am a voter in the "Bloody 8th" of Southern Indiana.

Go Ellsworth!

I'ts been a couple of weeks since I returned from IL2006 in Monterey, and I haven't yet posted all the "fun stuff" pictures!

My dad accompanied me out to Monterey (as it is one of his favorite cities), and we went photo happy as we happily became tourists, ate delectable food, shopped for souvenirs, and enjoyed the fantastic weather.

We drove on 17-mile drive, we drove about 50 miles down a foggy Highway 1 to Big Sur and back, we visited the Aquarium and Cannery Row, we saw zillions of migrating Monarch butterflies, we went to the Wharf many times, we ambled along the farmer's market outside the hotel, and we grumbled when it was time to come back home.

The trip was fantastic, not just for learning's sake, but for time to bond with my dad, to see a beautiful corner of the world, and to bring it home in photos for my mum, who was unable to travel due to her chemo regimen.

What a memorable trip!

The entire photoset is here (from our 4:30am departure to our arrival back in soggy Indiana, with a zillion photos in between), but these are a few of my favorites - I like the people pictures.

Enjoy. :-)


Dad and I on part of 17-mile drive!


The Lone Cypress is right behind us...


Me at The Lone Cypress...


We ambled around Pebble Beach Golf Club...


Yes, that's my 67-year old father perched on a precipice above the Pacific.


Beautiful sound, beautiful sight...


Inside a part of the AMAZING Monterey Aquarium!


A part of our fog-laden drive on Highway 1, this is Bixby Bridge. And they aren't kidding about the steep slopes - this is not a drive for the faint of heart!


The strangest fog I've ever seen...


My favorite meal in Monterey. :-)


Sampling our nibblies at the Farmer's Market - lamb and naan, falafel, gyros, pastries and strawberries!


The end of Fisherman's Wharf...


It was all over too soon...thanks, Dad! :-)

Something Blue by Emily Giffin

This is the second title from Giffin, following her very popular Something Borrowed, I book I loved.

In this novel, Giffin takes the characters that were secondary in her first novel and puts them first - namely Darcy, who has just broken up with her fiance and finds she is pregnant. What follows is the next 9 months of her life as she flees the country, tries to find love and happiness, and tries to grow up before she becomes a mother.

I hated Darcy as a character from the first novel, and it took me some time to warm up to her in this one, but in the end, you are cheering for that happy ending.

Another skillfully written, engaging novel. I highly recommend reading Something Borrowed and then checking this title out. Loved it!

Pretty much from the minute last year's Internet Librarian conference ended last year, I knew I wanted to be an attendee at IL2006. Last year was such an energizing, exciting, buzzworthy conference, and I was fortunate enough to return to Monterey last week for another go round in the land of techie librarians! This year, the 10th anniversary, was the biggest conference yet, with 1.493 registered attendees. That's stupendous. :-)

I give you IL2006 - the learning stuff.

Below is a rundown of sessions I attended, presentations I saw, and bloggers who spoke. I'm deeply indebted to the intrepid bloggers who blogged each session (as well as the InfoToday blog) so that Notetaking 1.0 folks like me would have something digital to refer to after the conference! Wanna just see my Flickr photos? Click right here for the set.

Public Libraries TrackAuthor J.A. Jance (herself a blogger) was our opening keynote, and she gave an impassioned talk about her abusive husband, her escape to a new life, her book ideas, and even sang a couple of songs a capella. While I found her talk interesting from a book-person point of view, I was puzzled that it wasn't more closely linked to technology. Still, it was interesting and funny, and I plan to check out a Jance novel or two in the coming weeks.
I was psyched the public libraries track had a) returned for a second year and b) was going to kick off IL2006 for me!

Public Library 2.0: Emerging Technologies and Changing Roles
was the first session, and featured Jenny Levine, Michael Stephens and Helene Blowers discussing public libraries tech ideas, ways to move into the land of Library 2.0, and the progress that we have seen in the last year. Blowers discussed her Learning 2.0 initiative at PLCMC, and the success the program saw. In a nutshell, staff members were encouraged (and given nifty incentive prizes) for playing with 2.0 technology - set up a blog, subscribe to some RSS feeds, play with a wiki, look at YouTube and much more. I would lovelovelove to get my staff on board with a fun way to play like this. Really great way to start the conference!

Delighting PL Users: Personas in Action
was the next session, and Stephen Abram is always a dynamic and interesting speaker. Abram spoke at length about the changing face of our patrons, and how best to serve them and their goals. There was a comparison of different types of patrons, as well as different generations in the library. Very interesting and fast-paced!

Michael the ShutterbugReaching Patrons: Online Outreach for PLs
was Sarah Houghton-Jan's session, and it was a fantastic list of 20 ways to make your library more visible electronically. I am a huge devotee of the Librarian in Black's blog, and thoroughly enjoyed her session, and jotted down lots of things to try, change or add to our web presence. Thanks for posting the presentation, Sarah!

Web-Based Experience Planning was presented by David King, whom Maire and I decided was a rock star (not that he wasn't already). Wherever David was, a crowd would gather. That's a rock star. Anyhoo, David talked about the good things, and the not so good things, that web creators and designers do to their users - and the kind of experience the user has each time. Strategy, scope, structure, skeleton and surface of a website were discussed, and David cited several excellent sources (such as "Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug) to read to learn more about the "user experience".

OPAC Tips & Tricks for Improving User Experiences
featured Glenn Peterson (of Hennepin Co. PL) and Nanette Donohue (of Champaign PL) discussing the ways they had edited, exploited and enabled their OPACs to give the user a better experience. Glenn discussed portal products, integrating your OPAC into your website, and a single login for the entire library website. Nanette discussed their OPAC redesign (the result of a grant) and what worked, and what didn't, during their process.

Gadgets, Gadgets, Gadgets was a great way to end the day! This was a lighthearted presentation (complete with trivia gifts!) given by Aaron Schmidt, Barbara Fullerton and Sabrina Pacifici, in which they each had one minute (seriously - they timed it) to discuss some new or snifty gadget or technology. Some of the items were serious, many were funny, and all of them were interesting to learn about. A great session to a packed house!
And thus ended day one!

David KingDays two and three were going to be dominated (for me, anyway) by the Social Computing track, and I was psyched! This is all the fun stuff: Flickr, Blogger, Wiki, MySpace and more! Day two kicked off with Clifford Lynch as the keynote speaker, who discussed cyberinfrastructure and data management, and then it was off to...

Podcasting and Videocasting
, a fantastic double session with a really knowledgeable panel of speakers (including RockStar David King and Jeff from INCOLSA. Hoosier State, represent!). I learned a lot of tips for starting a podcast for the library, but I was superintrigued by David's discussion of videocasting - I wanna do that! In the coming months, I may have to try a podcast/vidcast of my own before tackling it for the library.Aaron and Michael

Flickr and Libraries
was just a big lovefest. :-) Michael Porter (LibraryMan himself!) talked about libraries and librarians who are utilizing Flickr, how Flickr works (tags, sharing, etc), geomapping with Flickr, and even had two “guest speakers” who discussed how Flickr has impacted their own library projects. Many of us in the room are already Flickr devotees, but by the end of Michael’s talk, I’m sure everyone was a convert. :-) Michael Sauers (travelinlibrarian) talked about some of the cool functions and toys available through Flickr (like Fd’s Flickr Toys).

Aaron Schmidt and Cliff Landis, two great speakers, gave a session on MySpace and Facebook (MySpace being primarily used by PLs, Facebook by university students). Aaron showed a couple of example library MySpace pages (Hennepin and
Denver; too bad he didn't show APL's!) and about some of the ins and outs of MySpace. Some of Aaron’s ideas on MySpace programming for public libraries included MySpace tips and tricks, a class for parents, and a historic figure/book character project (wherein students create profiles for a character or historical figure – how cool is that idea?). Cliff (smile and say ‘promotion and tenure’!) Landis also gave a great overview of Facebook and showed us how he used Facebook in his own institution.

The keynote speaker for the final day of the conference was Shari Thurow, who spoke at length about strategies for improving the visibility of your website. She gave lots of examples and tips, including HTML title tag ideas, an intro paragraph for a site map, and some primary text to include. It was very informative!

Maire and JoshI was once again going to take part in the Social Computing track, and first up was the Wiki crew!

(Sidebar…I made the mistake of sitting in the front row of the auditorium – it was me with pen and paper and about 742 laptops. I felt so ashamed. But hey, at least I’m keeping Notetaking 1.0 alive!)

The wiki panel of speakers were very diverse, and had a lot of different uses for wikis in their own institutions. I was particularly interested in the nuts and bolts of Maire Kruppa's discussion of SJCPL's Subject Guides, something that I (and, apparently, Joshua Neff) plan to shamelessly rip off one of these days. In other news, I was very proud of Maire for presenting at IL2006 for the first time - as one of my former employees, I was totally proud mama in the audience. *sniff*

What's Hot and New with Social Software with Steven Cohen was reminiscent of his session last year - rapidfire, laundry list of new and nifty social software sites to look at and try. This year, Steven did an A to Z approach, and the crowd got into the spirit of guessing the right social software. On my list to try are:Aaron Talks BlogsBlogging Update: Applications and Tips was my final session of the conference, and was a well-rounded session, with speakers from various libraries. Aaron Schmidt's talk about blogs (and the fact that "no one cares") was the most pertinent to APL. A great ending to a great conference!

Elizabeth Lane Lawley was the closing keynote, and once again, she gave a fantastic keynote (she was the opener last year) about how libraries need to explore gaming, explore the digital world, and explore fun (and, apparently, what Michael's pants look like in Second Life). Her slideshow and talk were fun and energetic, and it was a great close to the conference!

Maire and Marissa

Answering 911: Life in the Hot Seat by Caroline Burau

This is a short nonfiction work from the perspective of a newly minted 911 operator, something I've always thought would be fascinating to be "in" on.

This work is mostly a compilation of various calls taken, with the author's scattered thoughts on her progression as an operator and as a person, God, her family, and her interaction with other operators.

I loved the glimpse "behind the scenes" and reading the little stories that go along with the calls, but I didn't see a lot of depth of character. If you want a memoir, this isn't it. If you want a superfast read with lots of little vignettes, then this book is for you.