Monthly Archives February 2012

Book Review: Force of Habit, by Cash Peters

After seeing the cover for Force of Habit, by Cash Peters, I was expecting something of an action-adventure comedy. After all, with a masculine-looking nun on the cover with a habit and a black eye and crooked smile, what else could I have thought?

The author has called this book a thriller, and I have to respectfully disagree with him. I love a good thriller, but this book really isn’t a thriller. If I had to classify the genre, I’d say it’s more an action-adventure mystery. While there are some humorous moments, witty places, the book itself really wasn’t as funny as I had expected it to be.

Force of Habit starts with action and it ends with unresolved questions. That bothers me a bit, as a book, even if part of a series or an ongoing character series, should really stand alone. This one does tell a complete story, I just don’t feel it tied up all the loose ends well and tried too hard to make this a ‘beginning’ of something instead of a stand-alone book.

EDITING, GRAMMAR and STYLE

As for the gra...

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Update on Brew – If You’re In the Houston Area

A while back, I posted a blog post about a dog my daughter and her friend found outside and took to the pound. You can read that here, if you’re interested. The reason for this blog post is to update you all on Brew and to put out a special request.

First, let me tell you a little about Brew.

The animal shelter was able to get contact with the original owners, Brew’s family, and sadly, they decided they did not want him. They were even told he was going to be killed if they didn’t come and get him, and they chose not to come and get him. I do not understand this mentality at all. Remember, Pets are Not Disposable!

So we rescued Brew. We picked him up from the pound the day he was available to be released. He has been neutered. He’s had all his shots. He is two years old, weighs about 40-45 pounds, and is a light grey with brownish swirls. He is a lab/chow mix. He has purple markings on his tongue, kind of marbleized, and he has chow-chow eyes. He has a lab face, mostly a lab’s body, but his hair has some places that are thicker, more like the chow-chow. He is not, however, a chow-chow. He is more lab in appearance.

He is super duper sweet. I mean, he doesn’t really bark, he doesn’t howl outside. He’s completely potty trained, hasn’t marked or missed a single time. He comes in and out of the house. He asks permission to get on furniture. He is super gentle when taking treats from your hand. He likes to lay his head in your lap. He loves to be petted, but he’s not pushy about it. He’s calm when people knock on the door or ring the bell, and he’s awesome with strangers. He is gentle and careful with the cat and he seems fascinated by the little dog Scruffy (who only weighs five pounds.)

He’s about as sweet as a dog can be.

Until my Jake walks in the room….

Then he gets vicious...

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Bucket List

So the bucket list is supposed to be that list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket. There’s a concept for the bucket list I don’t like: the ‘kick the bucket’ part. I mean, after all, shouldn’t we be focusing on things we want to do while we’re still alive instead of focusing on what we want to do before we die? It might seem like a bit of semantic debate, but to me, it makes a difference. I don’t want to focus on doing all these things if dying is the goal. I want to live and do these things and keep adding to my list. I mean, if my bucket list always stays full, then I can never die, right?

I have often said that I could not possibly die while in the middle of writing one of my novels, and since I always keep at least two novels in the works at all times, I think it’s likely I’m going to live forever. Health problems be damned. I’m immortal!

But that all said, I’ve decided to do a short bucket list t...

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I Shaved My Legs

A few years ago (like, oh, I dunno, fifteen years ago or something, but when you start getting old, that’s a ‘few’, really, it is) I worked as a crisis hotline volunteer for the Odessa Rape Crisis Center. In order to do that volunteer job, I had to go through a 6-week training class they offered, with a big notebook full of information and such. During that training, we were taught how to answer the phones, how to talk to rape victims and what to do in emergency situations. We had notebooks and classes and we did scenarios and pretended to be callers and phone operators and all that stuff.

I don’t honestly remember much about the entire training, but there was one part that really stuck with me. They had a girl who was working as a rape crisis advocate at the time come in and talk to us. She stood at the front of the room and told us that she was a rape survivor. She talked about how she had felt, how depressed she got, and how in the middle of the night one night she called the rape crisis center and how helpful they were to her. When she finally was able to move past her trauma, she decided to volunteer too, because she wanted to give back to someone else what the center had given to her.

What she said to us was that she knew she was going to be okay when she went to her counselor and said, “Guess what, Nancy? I shaved my legs today!”

It’s not uncommon for rape victims ...

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I’d Rather Be Writing

I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do illegal drugs. I don’t party. I don’t sleep around. I’m faithful and true to those I love. I don’t tell lies unless the truth would needlessly hurt someone, and ‘needlessly’ is the operative word there.

A few years ago, my little brother–who isn’t really my little brother, but that’s a story for another post–he told me that I should get out of the house more often. He said, “Normal people go out and do things.”

I said, “I”d rather be writing.”

There is no truer statement for me than that: I’d rather be writing.

He said, “But that’s not normal.”

I replied, “I never claimed to be normal.”

I went on to tell him, “If I’m happy, love what I do, and am making a living doing it, and being ‘normal’ means giving all that up… I’d rather ...

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Animals Are NOT Disposable

Yesterday, my daughter found a dog outside, a lab mix, with pretty eyes, light chocolate color. He was sweet as could be, but had no collar, no tags. She went around the neighborhood and when nobody claimed him, thinking she was doing the right thing, she took him to the local animal shelter run by the city. When I finally made it home from the Social Security appointment, I told her all the reasons why that was the wrong thing to do, and I was nearly in tears over it, but we decided we’d call the pound first thing in the morning and see what was up.

Well, turns out, the dog was chipped. They traced the chip back to a vet in Louisiana, and everyone knew who the dog was, but the vet himself refused to give out the owner’s name or information...

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Book Review: MOROAICA, by S Gail Seymour

This is one of the hardest reviews I’ve yet to write, because I don’t know how to rate this book. On the one hand, if we go by the story, entertainment and how much it pulled me in, it would get one score and then if we went by editing and style, it would get an entirely different score.

So let’s start with the problems: In the prologue, we are introduced to the book in a first person narrative. The voice of that first person in the prologue is most definitely male, because his son calls him ‘father’. But then chapter one starts, and we switch characters but are still in first person, with a character named “Max”. It took me several chapters to realize, because I don’t read the summaries before I read books, that Max was really a woman, Maxine. That made me have to start over again and re-read things from that new perspective.

Next, the first sentence of chapter one has a grammatical error in it. That really turned me off to the book and had I not been reading it for a review, had I picked it up in a bookstore or had scanned through it on Amazon.com, I would likely have put it back and not bought it. That same grammatical error, particularly pertaining to dialogue tagging, was done incorrectly all throughout the book.

This book needs a good copy edit, no doubt about it, and on that score, I have to really say that the book can’t get more than three stars for editing.

But if I had judged the book by that alone, I would have missed a fantastic book.

The cover art is gorgeous...

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Frustration, And More Frustration

Carnival Cruise Lines Can Suck My Big Toe

So, the first thing that happened, and I’ll be writing more about this in the future, Carnival Cruise Lines decided that my bilateral massive multiple pulmonary embolisms and the both extremity cellulitis infection that left me with open wounds and abscesses on both legs was not ‘worthy’ of being given an exception for cruise reimbursement. We asked not for our money back on the cruise, but rather, we asked that they simply give us a credit for the cruise–for which they were, by one of their own employee’s admissions–able to rebook our cabin. We intended to use the credit on a future cruise, during which we would have spent more money than the credit we had with them. But Carnival Cruises decided we were not important enough as a customer to keep our business and held firmly to their ‘contracted’ agreement, and refused to refund or credit us any money in their special ‘consideration’ department.

Well, let me tell you what that means for me: I will never, EVER cruise with Carnival again. I also intend to make sure everyone I know hears just how ‘unvaluable’ Carnival thinks its customers are. We lost $2000 during a time when because of the health problems we could have really used that money and we never even asked for it back – we just wanted a credit so we could take a cruise at a later date when my wounds had healed and I had recovered some. I could have really used the vacation.

I hear Disney cruises out of Port Galveston too, as do Norwegian and one other line. When we’re ready to cruise later in the year, anyone but Carnival will get my business. If you plan on cruising, keep in mind Carnival will provide you with the best customer service as long as they are still trying to get your money. Once you’ve parted with your money though, they took weeks to even answer my request and then very blanketly denied the special consideration with absolutely zero explanation other than they didn’t want to honor our request, so sorry, buy trip insurance next time. Well, if anyone had offered us trip insurance, perhaps we would have.

If this matters to you at all, don’t cruise with Carnival...

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Sleep Study Results

I mentioned I would post the results of my sleep study the other day too, and I never did do that.

So here’s what the doc said on the sleep study:

I have mild to moderate sleep apnea, with about 30 apnea episodes over an almost eight hour sleep period. However, I had nearly 80 hypopnea episodes over that same period, meaning about 50 of the hypoxic times had nothing to do with obstruction or apnea, but rather, with an underlying pulmonary condition that should be ‘correlated clinically’.

Around 10pm, about an hour into my sleep cycle, I dropped sats to 85 and stayed there for five minutes. The protocol is to start oxygen if that happens, so he started me on one liter per minute, but it only came up to 86, then moved me to 2 liters per minute, and even then, I spent over 90% of the night with my sats below 90%. Remember, now, anything below 92% can cause organ failure or damage.

So yes, I have a sleep disorder, based on a pulmonary condition, but we don’t know what that is yet… or at least, they didn’t. We kinda do.

The pulmonologist was convinced the...

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It’s Not that I’m Ungrateful; It’s Just…

…Sigh.

So here I go again, talking about whiny complainy things. I want you all to know, I’m really not that big of a whiny complainy person in real life. I suppose, in part, the reason I whine and complain so much in my writing is because that allows me to NOT whine and complain in real life. For the most part, I’m tough. I’m strong, really… actually, I guess I really am. I mean, you guys tell me that all the time, but yeah, I guess maybe I am. I try to be, anyway. I don’t always feel that way though.

DOGS ARE AWESOME!

I spent much of this morning with my head buried in my dog’s neck, while he sniffed and licked my ears. I love my dog. I love dogs in general. I think puppies are the best, and my Jake is a good 85-pound, three year old puppy boy. He’s a great dog. He’s the best dog I’ve ever had, and I’ve had some really good dogs too. I love him. When I’m down, he knows. He learned early on to be ‘gentle’ with mama, so when he comes up to me, he doesn’t jump up on me like he does everyone else, but rather, jumps ‘next’ to me. When in bed, he doesn’t come running and p9ounce on top of me like he does everyone else. He gently comes and sits next to me, then slides onto my chest and eats my face, nose and all. He licks tears when I’m sad. I am very grateful for my dog.

Yesterday morning, I spent most of the morning in tears. A couple of days before that,  I was angry. Today, I’m a little numb, sort of depressed, just not myself.

WHINY RANT WARNING!

I can’t help but think about how fast my life has changed with the health problems I’ve been having...

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