Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Seasons Greetings to all!


Season's Greetings, everyone!
Thank you for being so wonderful and for sharing the Wordtryst journey!
All the very best for 2009!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

December Hunk: Jason Momoa



To round out the year, here's a drink to warm the cockles of your frost-bitten little hearts, me dearies. Jason Momoa, model and actor, is a 6'5" green-eyed hunk of hotness. He was born in Honolulu but raised in Iowa. He has won "Hawaii's Model of the Year," participated in the prestigious "Governor's Fashion Show," and walked the runway for Louis Vuitton. He also hosted the 1999 "Miss Teen Hawaii USA" contest. And he surfs. But you guessed that, right?



You might know him from Baywatch Hawaii. He caught my eye because he looks so, well, Trini. Just toss him in the crowd here with my son and his surfer pals and you'd never guess he hadn't spent his life riding the waves at Beach Break and Mount Irvine*.

In case anyone is wondering what to get me for Christmas... Ahem. Hint, hint... Forget the gift paper; unwrapped is fine with me. I'll make him my muse for novel #3.

(* Surfer hangouts on Trinidad and Tobago respectively.)

Thursday, 11 December 2008

For those who hate Christmas


Okay, maybe hate is a strong word, as a friend cautioned me yesterday. But I'm really not that into Christmas. I know, I know; I'm a horrible person and unchristian and a douche-bag who wants to rain on people's joy. Whatever! I like the Christmas season here in the tropics when the temperatures are cooler, the sky is breathtaking, the rainy season is tailing off and the earth is no longer soggy, when the breeze... Well, you get the picture.

I enjoy some of the music, the classics that bring back memories of magical childhood Christmases. I even like some of the pop tracks, and the local parang/soca parang that hearkens to the old Spanish influences on our culture. I enjoy the warmth of friends and family getting in touch. I love the food! But I hate abhor the fuss, the frenzy, the crowds, the traffic, the insane lines at the bank, the false cheer all over the media that screams BUY BUY BUY... And I hate abhor the soppy movies that proliferate around this time.

So, in response to akalol's call over on This Beach Called Life to nominate the best Christmas movie ever, I'm going to list the antidote to all this saccharine sop: the top 10 Christmas movies for cynics, lifted from http://worldfilm.about.com/od/toppicks/tp/christmasmovies.htm.
  1. Bad Santa."Billy Bob Thornton falls down drunk a lot in this hilarious and sublimely offensive tale of a pair of Yuletime robbers."
  2. Gremlins. "For mad holiday mayhem, Joe Dante's 1984 invasion of anarchic critters can't be beat."
  3. Brazil. Fascist troopers come busting through the roof in Terry Gilliam's hallucinatory dystopia, and all Mrs. Buttle gets for Christmas is a receipt for her kidnapped husband.
  4. La Buche. A film about bickering sisters, Christmas and infidelity. Doesn't get much better than that.
  5. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. "At the end of Jacques Demy's impossibly romantic love story, Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo meet again on a snowy Christmas Eve. Too bad it's for the last time..."
  6. Life of Brian. Slip in this classic Monty Python comedy if the holidays are getting a bit much, and celebrate the birth of Brian instead.
  7. The Nightmare Before Christmas. "Tim Burton brings Halloween and his own twisted vision to the holidays in this 1993 animated musical."
  8. Die Hard. When terrorists take over a skyscraper during a Christmas party, Bruce Willis gets a chance to kick some butt. "Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho." I'm not an action film fanatic but this was a good 'un.
  9. Eyes Wide Shut. After a Christmas party, a wife admits she has sexual fantasies about other men. Her husband prescribes for himself a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery. Just what the doctor ordered.
  10. Go! A story of a bunch of young Californians trying to get some cash, do and deal some drugs, score money and sex in Las Vegas, and generally experience the rush of life. Doesn't quite go as planned, though...
Grab a few of these if you feel the need to dispense with all this fake holiday cheer!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Animoto - the end of slideshows



That's their name, and their slogan.

I discovered Animoto through a post on one of the numerous Facebook writers' groups I belong to. This is my first video and it's not perfect, but they make me look good!

It's easy to do, even for a technopleb like me:
  • Create an account (of course!)
  • Upload your images
  • Choose your music
  • Create the video!
30-second vids are free; if you want the 60-second version, you pay $3. You can post your videos directly to Blogger, YouTube, MySpace, Live.com, TypePad, iGoogle, Wordpress, LiveJournal, Facebook, and a number of other places, or just copy the code and embed where you like. (The direct posting makes me think: Security breach! Security breach! Probably my paranoia kicking in, so I chose to embed.)

Check them out at http://animoto.com. At worst, you sink a couple hours having fun and feeling like a technowizard. At best, you get a sweet promotional widget for your book - or whatever you're pimping!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Attack of the book meme

Here we go again... But you already know I can't resist a book meme, right?

1. One book that changed your life?
One that comes to mind immediately is The Women's Room by Marilyn French. This book clarified for me not the human condition, but the female condition. The fairy tales we've been told, and that we tell ourselves in order to survive, fell away. This novel focused my anger and honed my feminism by making me face the things I've always known but didn't want to accept.

2. One book you have read more than once?
A random pick: The Deeds of the Disturber by Elizabeth Peters. This was my son's book and I don't think he ever read it, but I found the carryings-on of archaeologist Amelia Peabody, her gorgeous Indiana Jones-like husband, and their strange, brilliant, pendantic son Ramses irresistibly entertaining! Mummies, murder, mayhem - what more can one ask?

3. One book you would want on a desert island?
Why must it be one? I want tons! How else would I survive? Man cannot live by coconuts alone! Sigh. The Bible. Or some version of the Greek myths. Or 100 Easy Coconut Meals, if it exists.

4. One book that made you laugh?
A Painted House by John Grisham. Not that it was a funny book, mind you, but the part where the uppity sister-in-law gets trapped in the outhouse by a shit-snake... priceless!

5. One book that made you cry?
One Child by Torey L. Hayden. Wrenching true story of a child who suffered horrendous abuse and yet managed to bloom in startling ways.

6. One book you wish had been written?
That one about the lives of aboriginal peoples of the Caribbean. Not the speculative and obviously warped ones written by the conquistadors that tell of savage, cannibalistic Caribs who deserved to be exterminated and of meek, weak and subservient Arawaks who withered away under the onslaught of European 'civilization', but the true story, the one hinted at by the cultural nuances that managed to trickle down, and by the writings of a few monks and other good men.

7. One book you wish had never had been written?
This is a difficult one. Who am I to say that another writer's work shouldn't exist? However, having just read (parts of) Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin I'll admit I have a problem with books that debase human sexuality (while I acknowledge that humans manage to do that quite adequately with or without the books).

8. One book you are currently reading?
Such as I Have by Garfield Ellis. It tells the story of a handsome Jamaican village cricketer, the swaggering, bed-hopping 'red man' adored by both sexes and all ages, and what happens when he develops an obsession with the daughter of the village pariah, an obeah woman.

9. One book you have been meaning to read?
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It's one on my long list of 'should reads'. These tend to take a back seat to the ones on my 'oh, looks like a fun read' list.

10. Now tag five people.
I don't do this anymore. You want, you take.

Friday, 14 November 2008

The perfect gift


Everywhere I go I hear Christmas music. The atmosphere - I mean the literal air - is already changing in that indefinable way that it does at the onset of the tropical winter: the nights are cooler; there's an extra clarity in the blueness of the sky, a pellucid depth, and a certain invigorating buoyancy in the breeze. Yes, folks. Christmas is in the air.

I've been told I'm a Scrooge. I love certain aspects of the season, like the relief from the scorching heat. Snuggling under my comforter is a pleasant change from tearing clothes off my sweaty skin and hauling the fan as close as it can get in the middle of the night. But I hate the fuss, the excess, the commercialization, the obligation to do stuff. And then - horror! horror! - there are the gifts.

Gift giving can drive you insane. Many people end up receiving gifts they don't really want, and giving the same kind. Some über-organized souls make up their lists months beforehand, while others run out in a frenzy at the last minute and grab whatever they can: "I'll get this dog collar for Caryn. Wait, Caryn doesn't have a dog! Damn, maybe this throw cushion. Does she like these things? I don't even remember what her house looks like! Maybe these towels? Scented candles? Soaps? Damn, damn, damn! Next year is gonna be different!"

Next year is here, and there's a solution to the gift dilemma. Random House has kicked off a campaign, and I think it's a fantastic idea: "This holiday season... Give the Gift of Reading!" Just think about it:
  • A book is the perfect size.
  • It's easy to wrap.
  • It gives hours and hours of pleasure.
  • It's reasonably priced.
  • It's convenient, portable, and can be visited again and again.
  • There's one to suit every imaginable taste and interest.
I used to argue with my mother every time she returned from a trip abroad. I'd tell her beforehand not to get me anything, and she'd return loaded with stuff I didn't need, clothes I'd never wear, bras and shoes that didn't fit. I had a brainwave a few summers ago: I gave her a short list of books I wanted and told her to get me anything on it. Now she spends happy hours browsing Barnes & Noble or Borders, and when she returns I'm always delighted with my presents. Books make perfect gifts! And if you're not quite sure which books to choose, then gift certificates or book vouchers are the way to go.

Let's start a movements, folks. Especially at this time when people are watching their spending ver-ry carefully, let's encourage everyone to GIVE BOOKS THIS CHRISTMAS!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

We've got a winner!



Remember the Jeff Rivera interview? Well, I got a package in the mail on Friday and it's the prize: a copy of his debut novel Forever My Lady for one lucky person who commented on the post! And there's a copy for me too! :)

Out came my mother's hat again and in went the names. (Vaughn, writer-friend, fair-play enforcer and all-round PITA, was not around to monitor proceedings this time, but I'm willing to be audited by Transparency Int'l. :)

Debs, the book is yours. Drop me a line (my e-mail is in the sidebar) with a name and address so I can mail you your prize!


In other news, if anyone wants my copy of Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin I'll mail it to you (my treat). It's hard cover, beautiful condition, dust jacket like new. I haven't even written my name in - which is something I usually do with a flourish as soon as I get a new book. Why am I giving it away? I don't want anything with people scr**ing corpses in my home. Call me squeamish, call me anything you like, but take it please. Just e-mail me a name and delivery address.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Not good news

Anyone who's been around this blog for awhile would have seen comments by Chumplet, who is actually Sandra Cormier, a fellow romance author. This blog interviewed her in March and I consider her one of my blog/writer buddies. I remembered her from back in 2006/2007 when I was addicted to Miss Snark's blog. When I started mine last year I looked her up and discovered, among other things, that she had lived here in Trinidad as a small child. She's one of those connections that blogging has made possible, and that I truly value.

Her 15 year old nephew, Brandon Crisp, went missing three weeks ago after a disagreement with his parents. Yesterday his body was found in a wooded area some miles from his home.

I cannot even begin to understand what Sandra, her sister and brother-in-law and the rest of her family must be going through right now. I'm a parent; this is any parent's worst nightmare. When something like this happens, I feel so helpless; I don't know what to say except the old tired words. "I'm sorry. I'm praying for you and your family." I hope that somehow, it helps - even if it's just a tiny bit.

So, please go across to Sandra's blog and leave a word or two. Words are all we have, but I think she'll appreciate the thought.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Vox populi, vox dei



I have never been more proud of my American brothers and sisters. Hope lives.

PS:
My friend D sent me an excerpt from an article entitled "Obama's private prayer" published in the Trinidad Guardian newspaper of Saturday, July 26, 2008 pg.A30. It says that Obama left the prayer in the cracks of Jerusalem's Western Wall when he visited Israel. D asked if I would put it on the blog and I'm happy to do so.

OBAMA'S PRAYER

LORD - PROTECT MY FAMILY AND ME. FORGIVE ME MY SINS, AND HELP ME GUARD AGAINST PRIDE AND DESPAIR. GIVE ME THE WISDOM TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT AND JUST. AND MAKE ME AN INSTRUMENT OF YOUR WILL. AMEN

Monday, 3 November 2008

The night before the day after

Zinnia's post put me in mind of this poem, and I decided that on the night before this critical US election I could do worse than post a poignant reminder of the futility of lives lost to war, and the futility of war itself. The poet is Wilfred Owen, a soldier who didn't come home from the battlefields of World War I.

Futility by Wilfred Owen

Move him into the sun -
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds -
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved, - still warm, - too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
- O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?

Friday, 31 October 2008

Interview alert!

Stephe has posted her interview with me today, so run, don't walk, over to the Dynastic Queen's journal and have a look!

Doesn't the cover look pretty against that dark background? Didn't she ask the greatest questions? I'll be filching some for my own blog interviews, you authors out there, so forewarned...

I'm convinced you'll be hearing a lot about Stephe in the future. She writes fiction because "...it frees me from Earth's gravity. It's my drug of choice, my high. And it's free."

My sentiments exactly.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The problem with erotica


Erotic Pompeii wall painting

I once owned a book of erotica. I was browsing a bookstore and bought it on impulse, anticipating robust stories of love and lust, impossibly endowed, abandoned couples in Kama Sutric configurations pleasuring each other in unlikely locations, enjoying ecstatic but improbable sensual marathons. I never finished the book because my stomach just wasn't strong enough to handle it, not even for the sake of research into the genre.

I'm not a prude. I'm a normal, healthy heterosexual female who could never understand the 'not in the mood' phenomenon. Hey, sex is good stuff! I assumed that my first brush with true erotica had been ruined by a particularly nasty example of the genre. Since I had a young child in the house back then, I burned the book. Yes, burned, as in took it outside, tore it apart and set it afire, then breathed a sigh of relief as I hosed away the ashes. Was I glad to see the back of that one - and how I wished I could erase some of those images from my internal memory drive! Unfortunately, that kind of stuff tends to stick harder the more you try to wish it away.

Since then I've read erotic romance novels and quite enjoyed them so, buoyed by these positive forays, I ordered Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin a few weeks ago, fully aware that it was erotica, but with a difference, to my mind: her work is described as literary erotica. I've read a bit of Nin's bio, I'm fond of some of her quotations, and I anticipated a treat.

Now, I know that judging a collection on the basis of a partial reading is not exactly fair to the writer, but the four or five stories I've read thus far, including the very first, have served up an appetizing smorgasbord of incest, rape, genital mutilation, drug addiction, necro.philia, best.iality and pedo.philia - just to name a few. What else is in there, I wonder. Dismemberment? Human sacrifice? The stories also have a tendency to be plotless, consisting of the mindless wanderings of some character from one tasteless and depraved activity to another. I'm not a fan of no-plot, and the activities do not, for me, constitute a great romp.

Maybe I'm missing the point. Maybe it's too exalted a point for my limited faculties to appreciate, but this is not fun for me, it's not exciting, it's not entertaining and quite frankly, it makes me sick to the stomach.

I won't be visiting that particular buffet again, and I don't understand how we can be collectively horrified when this kind of thing turns up in the news in real life, yet endorse and enjoy it in literature. I can't seem to distinguish between this 'literary erotica' and some of the depraved porn out there. What am I missing?

[In case anyone can't figure out the gratuitous dots in some words, they're to (hopefully) keep sickos googling these topics on the net away from my site.]

Monday, 27 October 2008

Guest author: Jeff Rivera!



As part of his blog tour to promote Forever My Lady (Warner Books/Grand Central Publishing) due out October 28, author Jeff Rivera is visiting Wordtryst and he's giving away a copy of his novel! You know the drill: leave a comment in the trail and you're automatically entered in the draw. He'll also answer any questions you might have, so fire away!

Who is Jeff Rivera? He hails from my second home, Miami (Florida) and he's not your everyday, run-of-the-mill author:

"Once homeless and living in his car, award-winning novelist Jeff Rivera writes passionate stories of those often forgotten and neglected by society. He believes even in the eyes of a gang member, even beneath the soiled clothes of a bag lady or behind the tears of a lonely kid in the back of the class, there lies a common thread that links us all, the universal human story. He has made it his personal mission to help change the way the world thinks in a positive way through his stories." - www.jeffrivera.com

Originally independently published, Forever My Lady went on to be acquired by Warner Books/Grand Central. It tells the story of a juvenile delinquent named Dio who is sentenced to prison boot camp. Everyone whom he has ever trusted has given up on him except one special girl, Jennifer, who promises to stay by his side no matter what. He promises he will turn his life around for her and she promises she'll never leave him. In fact, they plan to marry one day. But when Dio is released from boot camp he discovers Jennifer is about to marry someone else.



Jeff, welcome to the blog! What impelled you to write Forever My Lady?
The story sort of fell into my lap. After I was homeless, my first job was working at K-Mart where I met what would become a friend of mine who was in a gang and was trying to turn his life around for "his lady". That sparked the idea and I decided to create a story from scratch based on my own experience of love and people I know and that's how it all began.

Have you experienced heartbreak?
Very much so. I mean, especially during high school or when you're a teenager, you have these crushes. But sorry to say, usually I'm the heart breaker in the relationship. I never intentionally do so, but maybe I break it off so that I won't be the one who is hurt when it gets too intense. The characters Jennifer and Dio are together for so long and she really stays by his side even after gang violence haunts her life.

Why do you think that she puts up with Dio for as long as she does?
I do believe that Jennifer really does love Dio, but there comes a point when she realizes it's a very dysfunctional co-dependent relationship. Lord knows I've been through that before. I have a good friend now who's in the same situation and she's been with the same guy for years and they just cannot break up with each other no matter what even though the relationship is very unhealthy. I think a lot of people can relate to that.

What advice do you have for others who want to be published?
Besides the old cliches of "don't give up" and things like that? Definitely I would say something that was simple yet profound that my father said, he said "Be the best." So be the very best you can be because eventually the publishing industry does reward talent. You have to focus on your talent and be the very best you can be. The other thing I think I would say is to realize that agents and editors WANT you to be good. They pray to God that today will be the day that they get something across their desk that's actually worth publishing. So, they're rooting for you.

Thank you for being my guest today. Congratulations on the release, and I wish you continued success and truckloads of sales!
You're welcome, Liane. It's been a pleasure.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Hunk du jour - Charles Divins



I've been neglecting those hunks again, so without more ado... Presenting the divine Charles Divins, a former model who now plays the character Chad on a soap opera I've never seen, Passions.



32 year old Divins is a native of Dallas, Texas. He has modeled for Tommy Hilfiger in magazines like GQ, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Gear. He was also a winner in the Male Spokesmodel category on the television series Star Search. He appeared in a commercial for the Nissan Maxima.


What do I find so attractive about him? Well, there's the pretty face, of course, and that neat, trim body. I'm not into huge bulging muscles, and Divins appears to fit at the rangy end of the spectrum - right where I like 'em.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Terse meme


Been seeing this meme around the blogosphere lately, most recently from Flowerpot so I decided to borrow it. The winners of this award have to answer these questions, in one word per question.... so here we go:

1. Where is your cell phone? Bed
2. Where is your significant other? Who?
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? Tall
5. Your father? Gab
6. Your favorite thing? Love
7. Your dream last night? Weird
8. Your dream/goal? Self-realization
9. The room you're in? Bedroom
10. Your hobby? Reading
11. Your fear? Loss
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Vancouver
13. Where were you last night? YouTube
14. What you're not? Driven
15. One of your wish-list items? House
16. Where you grew up? Trinidad
17. The last thing you did? Listen
18. What are you wearing? Shorts
19. Your TV? Bore
20. Your pets? Gone
21. Your computer? New!
22. Your mood? Balanced
23. Missing someone? Always
24. Your car? None
25. Something you're not wearing? Perfume
26. Favorite store? Book
27. Your summer? Daily
28. Love someone? Alas
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Last night

Won't pass this on either. You like, you take.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Goodies

The courier notified me that my latest Amazon order will be delivered today. It's 5.11 p.m. and I'm still waiting, Mr. Driver. I hope you realize that I have plans for this weekend that involve lots of lolling and reading! Here's the latest motley bunch:


Ray Bradbury needs no introduction. This one has been on my wish list for a long time.


My sister, the family equestrian and horse fanatic (is that a tautology?) introduced me to Dick Francis with Driving Force. Good story, vigorous and virile storytelling. Mr. Francis has won several Edgar Awards for his novels, including Forfeit which netted the one for best novel in 1970.


This one is strictly for my sis, although I'll probably read it too. She doesn't celebrate birthdays and Christmas, so I give her gifts whenever I feel like it. She's one of my favourite people and the person I trust most in this world. I have a wish list on Amazon that's just for the books I'd like to get her.


Anaïs Nin, famous for her diaries and erotic writing, fascinates me. I have a collection of quotations by this writer, things I wish I'd said: "We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are", and "Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live." She was "a friend, and sometimes lover, of many leading literary figures all of whom she describes frankly in her diaries." I'm envious of her life, although my ingrained Catholic guilt and annoying moralistic proclivities might have made her lifestyle a bit of a problem for me to pull off. Would have had fun trying, though! :)

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

One World Singles Blog

Café au Lait is being featured on One World Singles today: A Romance Novel for All Seasons. Thank you, Vivienne!

One World Singles is "a magazine blog for people of all colors, ages (18+) religions, ethnicities and lifestyles. It includes links to popular blogs, dating and pen pal sites, dating and relationship articles, singles' events, merchandise and columnist Miss Know It All who will help to give fun and humorous answers & advice to your dating and romance questions."

Vivienne D. Neal is the founder of One World Singles which was launched in February 6, 2006. Ms. Neal is not new to the singles' market and has been bringing singles together since 1986 through her printed and online publication HMCS Romance International. She writes articles and short stories on love, romance, and dating for AssociatedContent and keeps busy managing her dating and online stores:

One World Singles Online Dating
One World Singles Online Store
NaughtyTees Boutique
Vivienne Neal's Book Store

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Kicking myself

So there I was standing in the Chinese food place, waiting for my chunky vegs and shrimp and gazing out the plate glass windows.

A blue car pulled in to the car park. It's an unusual model, and the only one I know in that colour belongs to my sister-in-law who was obviously returning home after picking up the nefarious nephew and naughty niece from school. I could barely see her through the tinted windows of the car but I smiled and waved, and she waved back. I returned to the counter, waited about five minutes, wondering why she was taking so long to get out, and figured she must be talking on the phone. I sauntered back to the glass and waved again, smiling like an idiot. I could see her returning my wave.

My food arrived and I picked up my bags and walked out. The car was parked right in front of the door and the first thing I realized as I exited into the bright sunight was that there were no children in the back seat. My eyes dropped to the number plate and I almost stumbled: it was a strange number.

The driver, a man, was indeed talking on a cell phone. He waved at me again. I gave a half-hearted wave, barely glancing at him, and walked past.

The next day I told my sister-in-law the embarrassing story. "Oh, I know the guy who drives a car like mine!" she exclaimed. "That's..." And she called a name from my past.

See that pool of ooze on the floor? That's me. This was a man who tried pursuing me years ago, a man who thought he was a real hotshot - lots of ego, sharp suits, fancy cars, and, I gathered, very few scruples. I wasn't impressed then, and I'm not now. The closest I ever came to slamming a door in someone's face was when he appeared on my doorstep uninvited and proceeded to hug me against my will!

Now he probably thinks I'm all into him. Or something. All that waving and smiling!

Kick, kick, kick. That'll teach me to go around waving at people I can't see.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Blogging vs. Life

A recent post by a blogger pal, his birthday post, and another by one of the Novel Racers awhile ago, both made me stop and think. Both, without going into specifics, referred to setbacks and problems in their lives, or in the lives of those closest to them, and each made me re-examine my assumptions.

When we come on here we're all upbeat, in total control. Even when we blog about imperfections in our lives it's done with humor, or at least wry self-deprecation. Yet every now and then I get a glimpse behind the veil: in the case of the second blogger, an indication that her life was in turmoil; the other, that everyone that he cared about had undergone some kind of disappointment or setback recently.

When I come on here I put on my public face, and I tend to forget that's what most of us do. When I'm grappling with tough realities, I assume that I'm alone with them, that everyone else is a-ok. I don't blog much about the fact that a close relative of my mother was shot by unknown gunmen and succumbed to her injuries a few days ago, never having regained consciousness. That neighbours of an in-law were robbed and slaughtered in their home yesterday. That everyone I know lives in terror of being the next victim of some sort of senseless violence, that I feel my heart squeeze and my breath shorten even as I type this.

And that's just the major stuff. There's the rest: the bad things that happen not just to good people, but to good people we love. The bad things that happen, or have happened, to us. Our internal struggles. Our failures and shortcomings. Our ongoing troubles and challenges.

Clicking around the blogs I enjoy never fails to lift my spirits: there's humour, sharing and camaraderie, support and encouragement everywhere. And that's great, that's the way it should be. But every now and then I get a glimpse behind the scenes and it reminds me: I'm not alone with my challenges; we all have them. Behind the light touch we're coping with birth, death, sickness, divorce, breakups, betrayal, debts, aging, tortured relationships, painful memories, raw fear - the whole gamut. For a moment I put aside my assumption that everyone else is leading a charmed life.

Then I get back into gear and try, like my fellow bloggers, to follow the advice of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians (thanks D, for first showing this to me):

"Finally, bretheren,

Whatsoever things are true,

Whatsoever things are honest,

Whatsoever things are just,

Whatsoever things are pure,

Whatsoever things are lovely,

Whatsoever things are of good report;

If there be any virtue,

And if there be any praise,

Think on these things."

Friday, 10 October 2008

Happy birthday Anti-Wife!



Anti-Wife
is 60 today. I hope I look as good as she does when I get there, but I doubt I will! More than that, I hope I've acquired the degree of peace and wisdom that she has. I think I'm on track with that one...

Happy Birthday, Anti-Wife! Wishing you many, many happy, healthy, blogging years!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

What font are you?

Found this over at JJ's Tea Stains. Times New Roman indeed! I would've guessed something exotic like Papyrus, or elegant like Parisian Script. So much for self-knowledge...


You Are Times New Roman




You are formal and conservative. You're concerned with how you appear to others.

For you, maintaining a good reputation is important. You want people to trust you.

Elegant and classy, you always maintain your composure. You are never crass.

You are professional, competent, and upstanding. And it shows!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Birthday boy


The boy with his trusty surfboard. They're inseparable.

Last week my son turned 25. I'm still in recovery. Honestly, I don't know how it happened: doesn't seem that long ago since he was enchanting us with his baby ways, and now he's a man. Does that mean I'm old? How do parents deal with this growing up business? I think I need some kind of therapy.

It's been quite a journey, and throughout I've always been acutely aware that I'm a lucky mom. My friends tell me I did a great job raising him. I think he raised me as much as the other way around.

So, to one of the best people I know, one of the kindest, the gentlest, the wackiest, with that great big heart: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May God continue to bless and protect you, to guide you through life's testing times, and to strengthen you to meet the challenges that always lie ahead. Luv ya, boy!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Triple delight


I've been having Internet issues (yeah, again) and haven't been getting around to my favorite places as frequently as I'd like. Hopped over to akalol's This Beach Called Life and what did I find? Not just a brilliant award (I love these!), but a review of Café Au Lait as well!

They're both going on my sidebar, right over there -> -> ->

Thank you, akalol, for my first smile of the day!

I'm passing the Brilliante Weblog award along to: Zinnia, Nyc/caribbean ragazza, Guanaguanare, Spiral Skies, 40 is the new 20, The Urban Recluse, and The Anti-Wife.

And just to round things off, South Florida Caribbean News has a feature on Café au Lait.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Review #3

I really apologize for the 'me! me! me! my book!' tone that this blog has taken of late. It goes against the grain but... my novel is a brand new release and I have to do my part to promote it. In addition, I've promised to share the journey - so here we go again.

Another review! This one from Susan Barton over at Romance Readers at Heart, and I love it! Thank you, Ms. Barton! You certainly 'get' the story!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

First author interview

I've been interviewed by Shades of Romance, the award-winning online magazine for readers and writers of multicultural romance.

Here it is: Debut Author: Liane Spicer.

Thank you, LaShaunda, for all the good work you do on our behalf!

Friday, 12 September 2008

...and now the winners...

After the party the team retired, bleary-eyed and blissful, to an undisclosed location where my writer-buddy Vaughn picked the two winners of signed copies of Café au Lait out of a hat.

Here he is with his first pick...


We have a winner!


...and another!


Congratulations, PJ and Jason! I'll be mailing those copies off to you pronto, and I hope you enjoy the read! PJ, by the way, is a blog buddy who hails from the UK and can be found at her eclectic, entertaining and thoughtful blog, The Urban Recluse. Jason Evans' blog, The Clarity of Night, is a virtual campfire for those who appreciate truly beautiful words and images. Go see for yourself!

Thank you, everyone, for joining in the fun. It's been a blast!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

It's a party! Come on over!



September 8 marks the official release of Café au Lait on to an unsuspecting world. A couple great reviews are out already, I've had my very first fan letter, and it's time to celebrate, so the blog is !!!having a party!!! I'm giving away two copies of the novel and everyone who leaves a comment here will be entered in the draw on Wednesday (***see update below) when (I dare assume) enough sobriety has returned to enable me to write names on little pieces of paper.

To ensure fairness to all, fellow writer Vaughn has been designated to pick the winners from a hat. I'm not a hat person myself but my mother has agreed to lend us one of the ridiculous things she wears in the yard and to the market. Let the fun begin!

It's all happening on the beach here at Maracas Bay on the north coast of my island....



...where we're dancing on the sand, plunging into the waves, running across the street to buy shark-and-bake with tamarind sauce from the booths over here...



...and listening to the music of the wind and the breakers. We've got lots of drinks in the coolers so grab a glass of something and join in! We'll be here all day and all night and the day after that and the day after...

***The draw will take place today, Thursday, at an undisclosed location (snort) and I'll post the results on the blog on Friday.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The virgin orchid & fruit of the vine

I mentioned the orchid we call the virgin back in my birthday post. The small white flowers cover the plant and last just one day. Yesterday it bloomed again...



And here, somewhat out of focus, are the first grapes from my mom's vine. They're small and not at all sweet, but we love them.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Five stars!

Just discovered that Harriet Klausner, described by Time magazine as "one of the world's most prolific and influential book reviewers", has given Café au Lait five stars on the Barnes & Noble page! As far as I'm aware, this is the first review to go up on a bookstore site.

Thank you, Ms. Klausner! So glad you enjoyed it!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Hunk of the Month: Ralph Fiennes

Spiral Skies mentioned - actually, insulted - a British celebrity on her blog, and he dropped by to exchange some good-natured banter with her, causing quite a stir in that comment thread. I wrote there that I'd be mentioning Ralph Fiennes twice daily on my blog in the daft hope that he'd drop by here and cause some havoc. I was joking, of course (I'd be so lucky), but it reminded me that I've been again neglecting one of the raisons d’etre of this blog, which is to showcase hunks!

I've had a thing for 'Rafe' for ages. He starred in one of my favourite movies of all time, The English Patient. He was fascinating and terrifying in Red Dragon. Heartbreaking in The Constant Gardener. I didn't care for Maid in Manhattan but hell, I'd watch him in anything - he's that brilliant, that intense. No other actor, imho, quite manages his strange but potent combination of aloofness, sensuality, mystery, menace and almost-but-not-quite-boyish vulnerability. He has an aura of suppressed passion, or is it violence? He makes me a little - afraid.
  • Born in Suffolk, England in 1962, he was the son Mark and Jennifer, the former a photographer/artisan, the latter a novelist.
  • He's an 8th cousin of Prince Charles.
  • He joined Britain's Royal National Theatre in 1987 and the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1988.
  • He had an 11 year relationship with Francesca Annis, 19 years his senior, after being cast as Hamlet to her Gertrude (Hamlet's mother) in 1995. Being partial to younger men myself (aye, I married one), I totally approved!
Yum.

Snippet, courtesy Phyllis


Another Dorchester author, the lovely Phyllis Bourne Williams, author of A Moment on the Lips and By New Year's Day from the anthology The Holiday Inn, dropped by and, reading that I didn't have access to the Romantic Times review of Café au Lait, e-mailed it to me. Here's what she wrote:

"RT said: 'Even if the reader has never set foot in the Caribbean, the sights and sounds, perfectly described in this book, will make you feel like you're there. The story is one you've probably read before - girl meets boy, boy resists attraction, girl and boy give in to their feelings - but throw in some unexpected drama, and you've got yourself an entertaining novel.'

The rest is just a summary of your plot."

Thank you, Phyllis. As a writer yourself, you must know how much I appreciate this.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

And another! One I can read, too...

I'm just back from my three day hiatus in a beach house in Toco (a remote seaside community on the north-eastern tip of the island) with two former colleagues and a handful of their students.

It was just what the doctor ordered - a complete break from routine, different spaces and faces, and a hike through the forest to a hidden waterfall and rock pool in Rampanalgas! It was goooooood to throw on the old backpack and plod through the rain, sodden leaves, mud and roots, thinking of nothing but the next foothold. It was liberating to plunge into the ice cold pool and swim around while the boys leapt screaming from a ledge high above the deep end. To watch the fish skulking in the dark shadows. To breathe clean, moist air smelling of mist and green things. To wade through the stream, to scramble over boulders and fallen trees.

The only casualty was my cell phone. I don't think Nokia designed it for hiking through pouring rain. I'm not burying it yet, though. My son had one that was famous for its miraculous recoveries after being repeatedly shattered and drowned.

I got back at sunset today, fired up the computer and what did I find? Another Google alert, and another review - one that I can read, too... This one is by Harriet Klausner, and a bit of research revealed a fascinating article about her from Time magazine.

Thank you, Ms. Klausner. You're my first, and hell, I'm happy.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

First Review

Another Google alert just in. Romantic Times Book Review magazine has reviewed Café au Lait in its current edition. I think my blood pressure spiked when I saw this because... hell, it's a review. Reviewers have the power to diminish, depress and demoralize even seasoned, successful, acclaimed writers.

I clicked on the link, dread and hope combusting in my head, and to my relief found that they've given the novel three stars out of their maximum of 4 and a half - not stratospheric, but pretty decent. The review itself won't be up on their website for two months, and I've never seen that magazine here, so I can't read what they've said about the story. Don't know if I even want to. But I will - in two months, I suppose.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Grumbles & groans


I'm bombarded with the advice that an author must have a website. I understand the need for a web presence, of course, but what I don't understand is why a writer who has a blog needs to have a separate website. Isn't a blog a website?

I've looked at several writers' sites and most are quite basic, with some variation of the following:
  • Their bibliography
  • A synopsis of each book, sometimes with excerpts or sample chapters
  • An author bio
  • Contact information
  • Some had a photo gallery
  • An itinerary if the writer is doing tours and signings
  • Links: to Amazon or wherever the books are sold, to the blog, and random others of the author's choosing
There is nothing there that can't be posted or linked on a blog. If I create a website, I'll simply be duplicating all the information on the blog. This pisses off the minimalist in me. In addition, the blog has the advantage of being user friendly: I manage it myself, update as frequently as I like, and it's wonderfully interactive. Managing a website, I understand, requires knowledge of html or some such voodoo.

I'm a stubborn PITA when I can't see the logic behind something that everyone insists is necessary. So I'm throwing this out there: Someone, anyone, please, please convince me why it is necessary for me to duplicate all the stuff I have on this blog onto a website.

[And it's not about the money. My son's job is building websites.]

Monday, 28 July 2008

Twisted meme

Did this meme back in May, but I got an idea from Karen's version. When she didn't like her responses to one question she just did a new set of (riotous) answers. So here I go again: How I'd answer if wishes were horses.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was a nun. Then I turned forty and decided to live a little.

Five things on your to-do list for today:
1) Buy new shoes. 10 pairs.
2) Meet with broker to discuss my stock portfolio.
3) Lunch with Yann Martel. He's interested in some kind of collaboration.
4) Teleconference with producers of Under the Tuscan Sun about a film deal for Café au Lait.
5) Leave for working vacation on Mustique with mysterious significant other.

What are three of your bad habits?
1) Collecting pink diamonds.
2) Men.
3) Wishful thinking.

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
I'd give it all away - well, most of it anyway.

What are some snacks you enjoy?
1) Frogs' legs.
2) Eels en brochette
3) Truffles. I've got my own pigs sniffing them out at a farm in France.
4) Escargot
5) Whipped cream served on hard - um - chests.

What were the last five books you read?
1) The Complete Works of Shakespeare
2) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
3) Ulysses by James Joyce
4) Delta of Venus by Anais Nin
5) The Bible

What are five jobs you have had?
1. Body double for Beyonce
2. Owner-director of eco-resort
3. Writer on location for the National Geographic Magazine
4. Writer of obscure literary masterpiece
5. Writer of blockbuster popular novel.

Five places you’ve lived
1) Tuscany, Italy
2) Provence, France
3) Patagonia, Argentina
4) Harbour Island, Bahamas
5) In my head, mostly.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Religious meme


You fit in with:
Taoism

100% spiritual.
20% reason-oriented.
Your ideals mostly resemble those of the Taoist faith. Spirituality is the most important thing in your life. You strive to live by all of your ideals, and live a very intellectually focused life.
Take This Quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

Friday, 18 July 2008

Reality Bites

One of my writer friends recently received a review of his collection of short stories and although it was a mixed bag (from "part-gripping, part-lackluster" to "Stanford captivates with shocking plot twists and turns") the overall tone was negative. Several of the criticisms with regard to my friend's execution of the stories may well be merited, but I take issue with the reviewer's claim that although the stories are set in Trinidad and Tobago they provide no "insight into Caribbean history and culture". The events could have taken place in Anytown, USA, he claims.

This brings me to the whole question of people's preconceptions. My friend did not attempt to write a travelogue. He did not write his stories to acquaint foreigners with the culture and history of 'the islands'. He wrote about the violent crime that is right now tearing the fabric of his homeland to shreds. According to the reviewer, the stories "tell little of island life". Oh, really? What the reviewer means is that the stories tell little about his preconceptions of island life. In fact, the stories showcase the reality of life on this island right now; violence is an issue that Trinidadians confront every day, and I don't believe the writer should be chastened for omitting titillating cultural soupçons and historical tidbits from his stories.

Our similarities transcend our differences. Our struggles are universal. The reviewer himself says that "Stanford gives much more attention to exploring universal questions: What is right? What is wrong? What is justice?" If these are concerns that Anyone, from Anytown, USA can relate to, what of it? Why is this considered a flaw in the work? An American writer of similar stories would not be rebuked for his laser focus on the central issues. He would not be told to include more cultural and historical elements in his stories.

Criticize the writer's pacing, his prose, his characterization, his use of dialogue or whatever, I say, but please, don't censure him for not writing about limbo dancers drinking rum under coconut trees to pander to the assumed preconceptions of a 'foreign' audience.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Mating rituals circa 2008


In my mother's youth a boy who liked a girl and wanted to see more of her had to ask her parents' permission. In my teens we were a lot freer, but a boy would be on his best behaviour, bringing little gifts, saving seats on the bus, and generally trying to create a good impression. Now it's the turn of my thirteen year old niece, and courting has gone to the dogs.

I held this particular boy in my arms when he was a squalling newborn. His parents are family friends. His neighbours are another set of close family friends. Imagine my dismay when I heard that he had approached my niece with, um, amorous intentions. It was not the fact of his liking the girl that took me aback, but his approach.

Did he bring her a flower? A chocolate? Did he dedicate a song to her, as another little fellow did some time back? Maybe you're thinking that he wrote her a cute little note, something like the serviceable 'Roses are red, violets are blue...' Or just held her hand and stared into her eyes while building up the nerve to ask her to the cinema or something?

None of the above. He sauntered up to her in sailing class and just... popped the question:

'Hey, you wanna deal?'

I'm horrified. Horrified. What is puppy love coming to these days?

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Rain



It's one of those days. Woke up to darkness when there should have been sunbeams streaming over the mountain and setting the valley aglow. Woke to blowing rain, rolling thunder, a lovely chill in the air. Today's rain is devoid of anger. It's mellow, dreamy almost. Even the thunder seems muted.

When I stand at the door and look up at the hills they're half veiled by low grey-white cloud and streamers of mist. The rain slivers down in silver streams. Makes me smile and hug myself. Makes me want to dance. Or something.

Here's a double tribute in song to my favourite kind of day: Rain, by SWV, the multiple Billboard and Grammy Award winning Sisters With Voices, and I Can't Stand the Rain by Eruption. I love both songs - and today I'm cool with the rainy-day memories, okay MysteryMan? (You know who you are.)

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Yet another bookish meme... via Kevin

Think I saw some version of it over at Urban Recluse some time ago, too. Before anyone starts getting steamed over the selections on the list, please check the link to see how it was compiled, okay? It's all in fun.

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read six of the Top 100 books they've printed.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who've read six and force books upon them! :)

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling (I so can't summon the enthusiasm...)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (One of the best ever.)
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (read about half)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
19 The Time Traveler's Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis (couldn't finish this)
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving (loved Garp and Hotel New Hampshire.)
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
47 Far From the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding (a truly frightening book)
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel (dude can write!)
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth (highly recommended by a friend)
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (the movie didn't wow me, but I'll read the book)
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby-Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From a Small Island – Bill Bryson (Read A Walk in the Woods and plan to read everything by this author.)
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – A.S. Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro (Loved the movie, so subtle and sensitive. Will definitely read this.)
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web – E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute (read so long ago I recall almost nothing)
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (read his memoir Boy and loved it)
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Reason to smile

Two or three weeks ago the production supervisor at Dorchester asked me for author info for my profile. It's three AM now but I'm up and feeling self-satisfied because I just placed my very first Amazon order (Chumplet, The Space Between is in there - finally!). Came to the e-mail to check for the order confirmation and found another Google Alert. (Thank you, Google!)

My author info, the same stuff that's going on the inside back cover of the novel, is now up on the Dorchester Publishing website. It's about time, yanno. I've been checking there off and on for months and wondering just when it would appear.

Yeah. I'm smiling.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Flaky friends in paradise


The courier company that handles my mail is acting up again. Just like over Christmas, the mail has backed up and I haven't reveived a single piece for the month of June although the statement shows at least five pieces of mail on the account. My advance cheque for Café au Lait is in there somewhere, I believe. So are my mother's gardening magazines and probably a couple of catalogues, as well as a refund cheque from a company that discounted some items I bought from them. And here's the intriguing bit: there's a mystery package somewhere in there that weighs more than 2 pounds.

I suspect the mystery package is from a buddy who oh-so-nonchalantly asked for my mailing address recently. If I'm correct then he's right now wondering what kind of flaky friend I am who doesn't even acknowledge mystery packages. Friend, I'll get it, along with the rest. I have faith oozing from my pores. No, seriously. I will get it. There's a new, sweet, pretty young guy helping with deliveries on my route (the regular guy is on some kind of leave) and he's going out of his way to solve the mystery of my errant mail. He told me that he counted eight big bags of mail sitting in the office... waiting for Allah to intervene.

To all the people who have romantic notions about life in my lovely corner of the world, all who think said life is a beach out here, I have just three words: Welcome to paradise.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

One Year!


Today marks one whole year since I started this blog, and how the time has flown! I created Wordtryst on June 24th 2007 but did not make it public until around two weeks later. I added the ClustrMap widget late in August and it now stands at more than 17,000 hits, with close to 1,600 views of my Blogger profile page! Cool, even if you discount the fact that many of those hits/views were... ahem... mine. :)

It's been great. Thank you to all who visited, all who commented, all who edified and entertained me, who have been walking beside me on my journey to publication, and all who just dropped by to say hi. Your support has been wonderful! With the release of Café au Lait just two and a half months away, I'll continue to post about the ups and downs of this odyssey - with maybe the occasional rant thrown in!

Cheers!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Reading right now: Green Dolphin Country



My friend D. knows that I have a special affinity for dolphins and whales. Whenever we see each other she almost apologetically hands over a bag of goodies, all dolphin- or whale-themed, that she collects in the intervals between our meetings: books, movies, trinket boxes, jewelry... She's a wonderful friend, she is, and I consider her one of the blessings I have to count regularly.

I haven't been to the library for awhile, and tonight I looked at the bookshelf in desperation, wondering what I should re-read. And there, there, I found not one but two of her gifts! I must've put them there as I unpacked the last bag of goodies and now they've popped up just in time to fill my need.

Green Dolphin Country [1944], a prize-winning novel by English writer Elizabeth Goudge [1900-1984], was made into a movie which won an Academy Award for special effects in 1948. According to one reviewer on Amazon, "It's the story of 2 very different sisters - the beautiful and joyful Marguerite, and the stubborn and intelligent Marianne, who both fall in love with the same man. He has gone to New Zealand - the book is set in the 1800s - and he writes home to ask to marry the sister he loves, but in a drunken state, puts down the wrong name. When she arrives she has to deal with the hardships of life there, while he tries to come to terms with his mistake, and the fact that the sister he loves has entered a convent." Apparently, it's based on a true story.

Next in line is a good old Mills & Boon romance, Island of Dolphins by Lillian Cheatham. Have to admit that it's been a w-h-i-l-e since I read one of those. This one is set on a tiny Caribbean island, much like the one where I live and where I've set my first novel, I suspect. I'll begin with this one (intriguing as the first sounds) since it's a little book and I'm in the mood for something very light. I'm also curious to see how the Caribbean is portrayed by this writer.

Oh, and that cover image at the top? Nothing like the one I've got, but it's the only one I could find.