Category Archives: books I’m reading

Thoughts on gothic vampires

I read a book yesterday. It was by an author who was not new to me. I’ve read Deanna Raybourne’s “Silent” books and enjoyed them. This book, The Dead Travel Fast, is her newest release, and not in the same series as Raybourne’s earlier books.

I have no idea of Raybourne’s motives for writing this book, so I really don’t want to guess. To me, it feels like it wants to be a vampire book like vampire books used to be before vampires got all sparkly and sexy. Like the original Bram Stoker Dracula.

The heroine is a small Englishwoman–she grew up in Edinburgh, but does not self-identify as Scottish–who travels to Transylvania in the mid-Victorian era to stay with a friend in anticipation of her marriage. The friend lives at the top of an isolated mountain as part of the Dragulescu family, but when the heroine gets there, she finds things are not what she expected. The friend is not marrying her count Dragulescu after all. And the heroine is quite attracted to the man.

About halfway through this book, I really had to drive myself to finish it. I just wasn’t having any fun.

I read a review fairly early on, and decided it didn’t really sound like the sort of book I enjoy, so I didn’t hunt it up. However, I was at the local library earlier this week, looking for Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging, ran across it and decided–what the heck–it’s at the library. I might as well read it.

Except I was right. It wasn’t really my type of book. It was the kind of vampire book that reminded my why, for the most part, I really don’t like vampire books much. And why I really don’t like gothic novels much. It was all mood and atmosphere and language–and I’ll be honest here–I really prefer clear, straightforward, workmanlike language with only flashes of artisticness. I am not much of a lover of lush prose. I don’t hate it, but sometimes, I think it gets in the way. Or when used, you wind up with a book that’s mostly atmosphere and not much substance. Which I really can’t say about this–there is substance. But there’s an awful lot of atmosphere and brooding and such.

There’s a lot of “are there vampires, or is it only criminals trying to make you think there are?” and “Is the hero an evil vampire SOB, or a victim of his childhood?” That sort of thing. The sort of thing gothic romances are full of.

Gothic romances are famous for having a hero whom the heroine suspects of dastardly deeds. This one follows along those lines, although here it’s mostly wondering whether vampires exist. I’ve always thought gothic heroines a little dim, because they were attracted to men they thought might be killers (or vampires?). Never have been able to get into that mindset.

There are a lot of people out there who like moody, atmospheric, gothic romance-type books. If you do–if you liked The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova–you’ll probably like this book.

I am not a fan. (Did not like the Kostova book at all–this one is Much better than that one.) I know I’m not a fan, and yet I picked this book up anyway. It was wrong of me, and about halfway through, I knew it.

So, I am writing this I suppose to remind myself that I honestly do not enjoy gothic romances, or old-style vampire novels (I really don’t like any horror books at all), and I prefer prose that’s more straightforward than lush. So it’s okay if I don’t read them.

Really, there’s nothing wrong at all with Raybourne’s book. It’s quite well done. But it’s still a gothic, old-style vampire novel full of lushly lovely prose. Not my cup of tea.

Now, notice I’m not calling it crap, or trash, or anything of the sort. Nor am I bashing the taste and/or intellect of those who read it and loved it, unlike many of those who criticize the readers of romance and/or science fiction and fantasy. I’m just saying–it didn’t work for me, and this is why. Everything is subjective. We just have to recognize our own areas of subjectivity, acknowledge them, and especially, admit that we ourselves are not the arbiters of all taste and good books and allow others their own preferences.

I guess you can tell I’m getting sick of romance bashers again. Anyway–The Dead Travel Fast–gothic vampire novel. You might like it, if you like that sort of thing. (Hey, it’s better than The Historian, though it has much the same feel.)

TBR Challenge – January’s Book

My book for January’s TBR Challenge read is a series romance.

Moonlight and Mistletoe
by Dawn Temple

It’s a Silhouette Special Edition, published November 2009.
This is a sweet, enjoyable read about a small-town girl and the big-city lawyer who isn’t really trying to hustle her–he honestly thinks he’s doing her a favor–but it’s a favor she doesn’t want, involving a pair of sleazy birth parents she’d just as soon forget. He doesn’t believe she’s as nice as she really is–and has trouble accepting that he’s just as nice. There’s a big dog, some local holiday festivities that remind me a lot of the holidays in all the little towns where I’ve lived, and just a great romance. I liked it a lot.

Yeah. I kinda specialize in short-and-sweet review-lets. :)

I’m posting this late on Thursday, but it’s still Thursday!

I’m late because I had to rearrange my whole week to go to the parents’ yesterday. I had intended to head up on Monday, but the doctor appts. they had on Tuesday they changed to Thursday. So I switched around the days I was going to work, and drove up yesterday.

And then today, while we were getting organized, the doctor’s office called. Their systems were down, and they had to cancel ALL the patients’ appointments for the day. Who knows when they’ll be able to reschedule? And I needed to come back home, because I rearranged my work days to work tomorrow. Sigh.

I hope they can go by themselves. I wrote down Mama’s question for the doctor, she put it in her billfold, then I wrote a note and stuck it on the outside of her purse that says “Doctor question is in the billfold.” So maybe she’ll be able to find it and ask it. If that doesn’t work… Well, who knows when my stress level will go down…

I did finish reading my research book…

New week, new stuff

According to my goals list, I didn’t get a whole lot accomplished last week. It felt like I was spinning my wheels most of the week too. Got my opening scene written, and then stalled out. Couldn’t figure out where to go from there. Part of it was an “order” issue. I’m a linear writer, which isn’t the same as a plotter, or a “pantser”–someone who just starts writing and figures it out as they go. The other kind of writer is a “puzzler” who writes scenes as they come, and then figures out what order they go in. I Really can’t do that. I have to write mostly from beginning to end, because my scenes build on each other. If I leave something out I decide I need, I can insert it without much of a problem, but during the first draft stuff, I pretty much have to have stuff in the order it happens.

I am also trying to do my first draft on the computer this time. Not really because of the time issue, but because of my vision issues. So I’m doing a LOT of stuff on the computer. I also have a lot of my thinking files on the computer–including a scene list. I put the scenes I’ve already written in red for his POV and in blue for hers, and the ideas for future scenes–if I know I need the scene, it’s in black, and possible scenes are in purple. I’m not very far ahead. I sort of know where I’m going, but my roadmap is REALLY vague.

I also need a new title for Old Spirits. It sounds like booze to the New Yorkers, and isn’t “romancey” enough. (I don’t know what was so “romancey” about New Blood…) So I have to get my brain in gear and figure out a new title. Not my best topic. All suggestions invited. (The Conjurer’s Apprentice?) And I have to do a few revisions on it, ramp up the action early on. I think I know how to do that. (First, cut out all the boring stuff that I didn’t already cut out.)

Last week was a really lazy week. I did take Dolly the granddog to the vet, because she apparently ate something that made her sick. She quit eating and almost quit drinking, and acted like a sick little doggie. She’s all better now, though. Back to her high energy, Gigi-exhausting self.

I am enjoying my new Sony e-reader. Alternating between reading a book on it, and reading one of my backlist TBR books. I have caught up on my RITA books. Finished them off, unless I’m asked to do a second group, and can read stuff just for fun. Or from my TBR Challenge list. I have Sabriel off the shelf, sitting on my desk… Okay. After I finish Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand, I’ll read that one.

Oh, and I have two articles to write this week, and a list of interview questions to answer. The first article is due Wednesday (I think.) The questions need to be answered before next Tuesday, and the second article is due next Thursday. Need to doublecheck on the newsletter topic.

AND, I need to get a newsletter out to my newsletter subscribers. New Blood is out NEXT WEEK. How did it get to be almost March so fast? Ack!

Okay. Off to work.

Still plugging away

I’m plugging along–at life, as well as the writing. I’m very tired today. Had trouble sleeping last night after my local RWA chapter meeting. (I love getting to see everyone and talk writing at least once a month.) I think I drank too many Cokes with caffeine too late at night. Anyway, after tossing and turning, I got up and read Jeri Smith-Ready’s THE REAWAKENED.

It was one of the two books I got at Borders’ “Buy One Get One Half-Price” coupon thingie (My other book was AN INFAMOUS ARMY by Georgette Heyer. I have broad tastes.) and was really NOT the book to be reading in the middle of the night when one needs to go to sleep. I read the whole thing.

But I still got 3 pages written today. I was going to be happy with two. I got up late, didn’t have much time to get writing in before heading off to work, and just didn’t think I’d get much done. But hey! THREE pages. And I got 5 pages Monday and 6 pages Tuesday. I’ve been having so much trouble getting Anything written, for a while there I was happy to have a mere half-page done. Maybe it’s because I’m able to be a little more consistent with getting to the desk, or maybe…I don’t know. But I am pleased with my progress.

The workshop last night had me thinking a lot about my process. The author presenting the workshop claims to be a “pantser,” someone to whom plotting does not come naturally. But dang, she plots her books WAY more than I do, and–while I Cannot write as a pure “fly into the mist” type, I can’t write down what scenes go in what chapters either. If she is a pure organic writer, she’s probably using this plotting-by-chapter method to keep herself on track, but my books don’t have that much structure that early.

They have structure, but they don’t have chapters. I don’t know where my chapter breaks fall until I put the book into the computer on my 2nd draft. I know my turning points, and I write from one to the next, but if I tried to decide ahead of time what scenes will go into what chapter–I never know just how long a scene is going to be before I write it. It might expand way beyond what I think it will be once I get into it–and then have to be shortened. Or maybe not. I was thinking in an earlier place that I would get some action into the story by having a riot–but something else happened instead. And my heroine had to be rescued. Hmm. The scene I’m working on now will have a riot-ish occurrence–so this would probably be a good place to show her competence, and that she can rescue the hero as well… Okay, good. Thanks for helping me with that.

In other news, there is a brand new stoplight–not a post-hurricane repaired one, but a brand, spanking new one–on my way to work. I haven’t decided yet if I like it. I seldom go through it during rush hour–and yes, we do have one. So the stop sign really worked better for me when I was using it. But everyone else is probably glad of not getting run over by rush hour. 😉 On the rest of the island, we’re still dealing with “sometimes the stoplights work, and sometimes they don’t.” Oh well.

I’m going to draw names for the ARC giveaway for my newsletter subscribers after Thanksgiving. The Texas grandboys, and our boys, will be home for the holiday, so I’m not going to think about promo stuff till then. I’ll try to blog next week. Who knows. Maybe I’ll make it back here before then.

One Step Forward, Two–Sideways?

The traffic light at Ave. O has gone out again. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.

I’m excited because I can go pick up mail more often, now that they have trailers with P.O. boxes in them at my post office. Of course this new substitute mailbox is so tiny, we have to pick it up often… I am waiting on books (no surprise) and meds, so I hope they get here soon. Soon-ish.

And the causeway is almost done! I think the southbound lanes, which have been under construction since long before we moved to town, have already opened. It will be another few weeks while they re-stripe the northbound lanes (both north- and southbound traffic have been traveling on that side) to give us emergency lanes and shoulders, but it is almost finished. I am not the only person who will be happy. The causeway suffered no damage in the storm–except for some newly planted palm trees that got smashed down and a busted up sign or two. The roadway–even the part under construction–was just fine. Okay, it had a lot of boats and sand strewn all over it, but once they moved the boats, no problem. (They were still moving boats early this week…) (Lots of boats on the causeway.)

I’m in a good mood. I got 6 pages written today. Doesn’t sound like much, but that’s my “usual” number (especially considering I only wrote 1.5 yesterday)–though I’m still striving to get more, even with the interruptions. The switch from Daylight time falling at the same time as returning from New York’s Eastern time has me waking up early, so I get to work earlier and can get more done.

Also, I went to get the new LKHamilton book, Swallowing Darkness, the day it came out, as well as J.D. Robb’s Salvation in Death, and am happily devouring same.

Life. It requires laundry. And groceries. And people who cook food. I had better go take care of some of those things.

Life in All its Confusion

Yeah, I know. Haven’t been here in a while.

So. ApolloCon was lots of fun. Saw my friends Rosemary Clement-Moore (of the Prom Dates From Hell books) and Shanna Swendson (of the Enchanted, Inc. series), and Chuck Emerson of Houston Bay Area RWA, and made some new friends. I met A. Lee Martinez who also writes some cool books, and his girlfriend Sally who is very cute and funny, and Rie Sheridan and Martha Wells, and I even got to meet Allen Steele who was the Guest of Honor–except Every One of my panels was opposite Every Single guest of honor. I did manage to get to be on a panel with Steele, who is a very nice man, and with Steven Brust, who has an amazing leather akubra-ish hat, and reminds me of Kinky Friedman, only without the cigar and Jewish cowboy-ness. Listened to some amazing music. Bought some art.

I bought some new books –Martha Wells’s The Wizard Hunters, and Shanna’s new Enchanted book, Don’t Hex With Texas, and Rosemary’s Prom Dates. And yes, I’ve already read them all. Now I need to get the next book in Martha’s series, and I need to get another book I wanted, but I don’t remember the title, and I don’t remember the author’s last name–I just remember it was a fantasy, and it had horses in it, and an alternate world. Drat. Now I’m going to have to try to figure it out. Ha! Patrice Sarath (See, I can find these things if I am sufficiently motivated) and the book is Gordath Wood from Ace fantasy. Yay! There may have been one or two others I need–yep, the new Jack Campbell is out. Okay, need to buy more books. (Okay, I don’t NEED to, but…)

And then, on Sunday, when the con was over, I headed out for the hospital in Austin. My mom was supposed to have minor, in-and-out day surgery last Wednesday, but when they looked inside, turned out they needed to do more than they’d thought, so it turned into major surgery. I was really worried she’d be going home from the hospital with nobody to look after her and Daddy (he’s only slightly less forgetful than she is), since the sister who lives next door was out of town at a wedding. Since my dad can barely take care of himself, I wasn’t sure how he’d do with taking care of Mama too, right out of the hospital. Fortunately, they kept her in the hospital through Sunday, (and Daddy stayed in the room with her the whole time, so he had some looking-after too), and I was able to get there and take them home on Monday and stay a couple of days. The surgery went well, she’s healing really well, the tumor they found hadn’t spread so she won’t have to have any further treatments, and my sister comes home today.

I think I’ve convinced them that when they’re hungry, they ought to eat, so they don’t lose any more weight. Daddy’s looking awfully thin, I think because when he starts a meal, he gets up to do something in the middle of it, and forgets he’s still eating. But one day, he seemed to forget he’d already eaten and made himself another sandwich and ate a second lunch, so hopefully, he’ll make up for it. Several small meals during the day is probably better for them anyway.

And now I’m home again, and still have a synopsis to write. And I’m kind of brain dead. The boy’s girl is coming down for the weekend, so we’ll play over the holiday, and maybe my brain will come home again.

No writing. Not much exercise. I walked to the mail box and back with Mama, and halfway around the house, and back and forth across the hospital three or four times–but I don’t think that got me very far toward Rivendell. But, ya know? Sometimes life throws you a few fastballs, with curves. I’m still here.

Beach reads and Bookstores

The daughter was being snide and sarcastic in the comments below, saying “Like you need an excuse to hang out at a bookstore.” But I DO! I need excuses.

Thing is, excuses are extremely easy for me to come by. For instance, “I NEED New books” is a valid excuse. Or “The new Slither Grimblethorpe book is coming out, and I NEED it!” That’s a valid excuse too. (Not that Slither Grimblethorpe is a real author. I just made that up for an example.)

Of course, there is always the “I’m going to be in the area anyway, so…” excuse. That’s the one that gets me off the island to the Big Bookstores where they actually have more of the books I want. The Hastings bookstore is closing down. It’s still in the process, which means it still has a lot of old books nobody wants to buy, and it’s not shelving any of the new books being released. Then there’s the independent store downtown, which leans Heavily toward lit’rachure and very little commercial, mass-market fiction. Or even commercial, mass-market hardbacks. There’s a used books place semi-downtown. And then there’s Wal-Mart and Target. See, it’s not the “hanging out in the bookstore” excuse I need.

It’s the Driving 30 miles to the Bookstore to get the Books I Want NOW excuse I really need. Because the new L.K. Hamilton book comes out next week. (I know bazillions of you hate what LKH has done with Anita Blake. I don’t care. I need the book. I will read the book. Probably three times before I put it down. Maybe only twice. Deal with it.)

Also, the new Julia Quinn novel comes out next week. And I think there’s also an Edith Layton. And maybe the new Jack Campbell Lost Fleet book. The Quinn and the Layton might be available at Target. But they might not be. I doubt the LKH book will be there–though it might. And I KNOW the Campbell book won’t be stocked. And there may be others I want and crave and NEED like Whoa and Darn. (I know. But I’m old. I can’t curse with impunity.) (Unless it’s necessary for a character in a book. Or I’ve worked my way up from Dagnabbit, because I’m really mad…)

Yes, I know I can order them from Amazon, or Borders or Books-a-Million online. But see, then I would have to WAIT. I am not good at waiting. I used to order the LKH books from the science fiction book club. But they would take a week to 10 days to arrive. Meanwhile, I’d go to the bookstore and sit and read chapter after chapter in the not-so-comfy chairs. I would make myself crazy with the waiting and the wanting. So I don’t order any more. I’m just going to have to come up with a reason to drive into town. Or something. So there it is. Excuses and addictions and books I want to read this summer.

While I live at the beach (sort of–it’s about 2 blocks away), I don’t read there. I sunburn in about 10 minutes flat. Or in an hour or so, if I have good sunscreen. And anyway, if I’m actually on the beach, I’d rather be in the water (which is not good for books) or walking (which usually winds up being in the water, this time of year). And if I’m walking, I need to watch where I’m going, what with the sharp shells and baby jellyfish and stuff on the beach, since I walk barefoot…

If I’m going to be reading, I’ll sit on the glider under the big magnolia in the back yard, or at the table under the covered porch, in the shade. :)

What books do you want to read this summer? Where is your favorite summer reading place?

Thursday Thirteen

I stumbled across this recently and thought I’d participate, even though I don’t quite know what it is. I’m guessing 13 random things I want to put on my website. So here’s mine:

The last 13 new books I read (I am not counting re-reads or the book I just skimmed)
They are, in the order in which they are stacked up on my desk:
1. THE SPYMASTER’S LADY by Joanna Bourne (Excellent!)
2. A DANGEROUS LOVE by Brenda Joyce (Good)
3. YOU’VE GOT MALE by Elizabeth Bevarly (fun)
4. PERSONAL DEMON by Kelley Armstrong (Good)
5. HEROES ADRIFT by Moira Moore (Good)
6. MYSTIC HORSEMAN by Kathleen Eagle (Good)
7. THE TYCOON’S ONE NIGHT REVENGE by Bronwyn Jameson (Also good)
8. THE DUKE NEXT DOOR by Celeste Bradley (fun and good)
9. PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS by Sherry Thomas (pretty good)
10. THE STOLEN PRINCESS by Anne Gracie (Don’t remember, but I usually like Gracie)
11. FORGOTTEN MARRIAGE by Paula Roe (forgot this one too, but …)
12. VOWS OF A VENGEFUL GROOM by Bronwyn Jameson (another Australian goodie)
13. SIMPLY PERFECT by Mary Balogh (Excellent)

Some of the others may deserve excellents, but I’ll have to look at them again. Enjoyed reading all of them–I skipped a fair portion of the Thomas book, but that’s because of all the flashbacks. Not because they were flashbacks, per se, but because it was looking back at previous misery. Or maybe because it was looking back at previous happiness which I knew became misery.

I skimmed most of THE VANISHING VISCOUNTESS by Diane Gaston, and I really can’t pinpoint why–it just didn’t grab me like the Balogh and Bourne books did. I’ve liked the other Gaston’s I’ve read, but this one–maybe because it was a traveling story. Don’t know. And my re-read was KINSMAN’S OATH by Susan Krinard. I even bought a new secondhand copy to re-read it…

Now to get these all up on Shelfari and GoodReads, and in my computer log, and on the Romance Readers Anonymous loop…

Chugging along

So. I’m going to make myself show up here on the days I go out to walk–at least the days I walk on the beach. We will see how this goes.

I got my revised partial of Thunder in a Cloudless Sky off in the mail yesterday afternoon. And as a reward, I went to the Hastings store on the island and bought the new Karen Chance book, Claimed by Shadow (the title in in dark red on a dark charcoal gray cover, and it’s really hard to read–but the author’s name is in white, so it’s easily visible. The cover is gorgeous, otherwise.) and read it. Good book. I may have to read it again to be sure I followed everything, but I liked it real well.

Today, I pulled out an old book I want to rewrite, and it’s really going to be hard going. I think I’m going to have to back off and start from scratch, instead of trying to keep the good stuff from what I had before. My opening scene with my heroine sucks–at least what I have so far, because it’s all blithering about the scenery. I need to just jump into the action. I have to open with the hero getting his talisman and having a vision–I think. Yeah. That’s really where I want to start. Then I want to jump right into the action…and I’ve got my heroine strolling across campus thinking about concrete. ACK!!!

So maybe tomorrow I can get my head on straight and write a decent chapter 1. Because I think the vision thing will be a prologue. Even though I will probably call it chapter 1. It’s the day that everything changes. But it’s not really where the action begins. It’s the hero’s call to adventure.

Today’s the local RWA chapter meeting, so it’s my chance to head into town and shop the “big” bookstores. (The Barnes & Noble and the Borders are practically right across the street from each other.) And I’ll probably hit the mall too. I want some throw rugs. Then I have to figure out how to get to the restaurant where they’re meeting with the speaker for dinner before.

Beach report: Big Rocks are back on the beach, at least between the 61st Street pier and the jetty opposite the grocery store, and some new pieces of the big rooted seaweed. Last time, there were only tiny little shells and rocks, but today, big ones. Surf was up some, sky was gray, but light right at the horizon, where you could see those streamers that mean it’s raining.
Cool morning. Didn’t really want to get my feet wet. If it gets much cooler, I’ll either walk later in the day, or wear shoes. (It’s not letting me upload pictures, so I guess I’ll show you my cool pink shells and where I walk at the beach next time…)

Beach Watching

Before I start: Big hey to Lindi, and tell your mom to send me your address!

I don’t head over to the beach every day, not even every other day, but I try to get there at least once a week. It’s my reward for living here. :) And for working, and for getting out and exercising. And every time I go to the beach, there’s something new to see.

Some days, it’s the cool patterns the waves make as they pull back from the shore when there are little shells and stones in the sand. Some days, it’s all the open-but-complete scallop-type shells scattered in just one spot on the beach. Last week, the beach was pretty much swept clean. All the seaweed that had been littering the sand was gone, no shells, no rocks, just sand.

This week, the seaweed was back, except it was a different kind of seaweed. The other stuff I think was sargasso–no roots, crinkly leaves, and tiny grape-looking…grape things. The stuff this week had roots and thick fleshy stems. I think the stems had arrow-head-shaped leaves on the ends–some of the stems still had leaves on them. But mostly, there were just roots and stems and some places where the stems thickened into bulby-looking things. A few of the stems were still green, but mostly, they were brown.

And there were rocks on the beach. Very few shells, but lots and lots of rocks of all sorts, including some concrete chunks. There’s a concrete driveway/ramp I walk by between a couple of the jetties that’s been undermined a pretty good distance beneath, so maybe the concrete came from there, but who knows? (these jetties are built about every 100 yards, made of huge chunks of pink granite, to break up the waves) Not me. This just seems to be rock week. I haven’t seen any more of those pink barnacle shells since Humberto roared by, but we’re not even getting many mussel/scallop shells now.

And of course, there are the birds. It’s amazing what some of these poor birds survive. Last week, there was a sandpiper (at least I think that’s what they were–they were as tall as stilts, or maybe a little taller, and speckled brown with a brown beak instead of being black and white with orange beaks–I left my bird ID book back in the panhandle…) that walked with a funny, kicking-out gait on one side. It had a little trouble keeping up with the other sandpipers, and flew a lot more when trying to get away from me as I walked down the beach. (They always seem to run ahead of me down the beach, instead of going to one side or the other.) I finally decided that it had broken that left leg some time or other, and it hadn’t healed right, so he had an odd kick in its gait.

Earlier this week, I saw a couple of one-legged seagulls. Actually, they had two legs, but their feet were messed up. One was missing a foot completely. I know it didn’t just have one leg tucked up under it, but was actually missing a foot because it was standing there with two legs dangling down. One leg just stopped before it got to the foot part. And when it walked, it would put its poor little stump down on the sand. (Mostly, it flew, but apparently I didn’t disturb it that much.) The other handicapped seagull had both legs too, but one of its feet had been mangled someway. Or maybe it had the seagull version of a club foot. Instead of the webbed triangle shape of its other foot, the bad foot was a kind of wad of web at the end of its leg. Poor baby. But they both looked fat and sassy. They still had their wings, after all.

Today, the footless seagulls were apparently out shopping for breakfast elsewhere, because all the seagulls I saw had both feet. Today, I saw a snowy egret fishing on the beach. The egrets usually fish over on the bayside of the island, because the water’s quieter there, and further inland, it’s shallower. I thought at first that this one was a bit nervous of the waves, but as I watched, it stood right at the edge of the water, intent on the incoming wave, until it pounced. I wasn’t sure it caught anything until I saw it swallow the tiny fish. So apparently egrets will fish in the surf too. It was so cool to watch.

(The picture is of an egret I saw over at Pier 21, near the “pirate ship”. It was fishing off the chain–I didn’t get a picture after it spread its wings for balance…but that was cool too.)

I have noticed that the younger gulls will fly away from me before the older ones will. Most of the mature gulls just saunter off while the youngsters are flapping out to sea. How can I tell they’re young, you ask? (I know you’re not asking, but I’m going to tell you anyway.) Because young laughing gulls have brownish feathers and adults have gray ones. The adults lose their black courting caps in the winter when their heads all go more-or-less white, but they’ll grow their black heads again in the spring when they have to look spiffy for the opposite sex. Yeah, I’m a geek. My sister got me into bird-watching, and I’m still stuck.

So, back into the writing. Gonna get my 25 pages done on Thunder and start working on…something else. Not sure what yet. Read my first book this month–a Roberta Gellis I’d been looking for, Enchanted Fire, about Orpheus and Eurydice. I have all her other Greek god myth books, but this one… Have it now. Enjoyed it a lot.

Thanks so much for keeping me updated about where you find my books. Y’all are the best.