Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

We're Number One!

Just for grins, I googled Hunky Guys In Kilts. Who came up number one?

Oh, yeah, dat's right! We da man!! Or, they are. Wahtevah.

Heehee...I'm a total nerd, aren't I?

Someone (not me) who is a co-writer of this blog (not me) has a birthday coming up. (Not me. Didya get the subtle hint?)

So here's an early present to my homegirl. To keep from eating too much cake and ruining that diet you're on (and Miss Thang is doing great, y'all!) have hubby go get one of these:

Can't you just hear her? "Please don't eat me! Please don't eat me!"

Or, one of these.

Notice the pig roasting on the little spit? The guy who made it also has a themed party for you.

"For the party, I also made very simple animal print dresses tied over one shoulder for all the girls, a Cave Girl pinata, and create-your-own shish kabobs. Activities included spear making using Sculpey clay, wood dowls and a wood burning tool, slingshot contest, roasting marshmellows over camp fire, and a treasure hunt for breakfast (hidden bagels)." Imagine, my darling. You could be Sheena, Queen of the Jungle for a Day!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Oh, The Christmas Morning Joy!

Friends, if you've still got shopping to do, let me suggest these items from our beloved Harriet Carter Gift Catalog.

Vacation In A Box

If you can't spare the time or expense of a real vacation this year, no worries. These clever mini-vacations will give your loved ones the feeling of really being there. They won't even know the difference.

Football Mask

For the man in your life. You'll be so proud to enter the stadium with your main squeeze showing his spirit!

Mouthwash Dispenser

Someone you know need a H-I-N-T? Be subtle and successful with this Scope Urn.

Honk Hat

Let's not forget the kids! Imagine the happy sounds constantly emanating from this gift on Christmas morning.

Tiki Head Tissue Box

Cold and flu season just seems less miserable when you can get relief from a South Pacific icon's nose.

Syringe Pens

Tell the doctor in your life you care. (We are not responsible if a sleep deprived intern mistakes these for the real thing.)

Pancake Cutter

I'm so glad they invented this! Pancakes are nearly impossible to cut, even with the sharpest knife. Now, there's no problem!

Doggie Santa Suit

And finally, our furry friends. Your dog can look as thrilled as this one does when you dress him up like Santa.

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

More from Mary

Another excerpt from our new pal Mary Griffith's book, Made of Honor. Keep thinking about entries for our contest and win an autographed copy of the book! (Click on contest above; there's an update to the post.)

From Made of Honor, by Mary Griffith
Chapter One, con't.

"Using my emergency x-ray vision (activated by squinting so hard I almost fused my contacts to my eyeballs) I glimpsed a pink satin horror similar to my own, but a set of three-inch shoulder pads blocked my view. Who would wear a power suit to a wedding-my boss. There she was, looking just as angry as when I'd left her at work last night. I ducked before she saw me, recovering from my shock that she'd even shown up. The bride, who left our office to start her own graphic design firm six months ago, insisted on inviting Naomi, her-former and my-current employer and Renee, my assistant, who was probably somewhere taking pictures of me for blackmail. She'd be giggling in my ear about this dress for the next month. At least.

My future torture aside, I was proud of Naomi for actually leaving the office (I think she secretly lives there). For her to show up at her own funeral would be the height of etiquette. Some people just don't grasp interaction, you know? And having "interacted" with Naomi daily for the past six years, I could do without her today. Besides, I needed to find Sassy Sistah #1 before she melted down and kissed somebody.

With that thought as fuel, I forced my Baker dyeables (those satin shoes that can be dyed to match your gown? I know. Prom flashbacks.) across the sprinkle of autumn leaves on the ground. Rochelle tiptoed up beside me, fanning her face, despite the growing chill. Man Mania was in full swing.

"Did you see Ryan's brother?" She said breathlessly. "From the looks of things, Tracey should have picked him."

From the reality of things. Anyone seemed a better choice. I mentally squashed the nagging doubt about my friend's hour-old marriage. Thoughts like that were getting me nowhere. It was done. God would have to take it from here. Me worrying myself to an ulcer before I got back to work on Monday was definitely a waste of resources.

I shook my head at Rochelle and considered reaching out and shaking hers. This time she was really in the zone. I spoke right into her ear, hoping it would jar her brain. "I wasn't really paying attention to the brother of the groom." Or any other man around here. What would be the point? The last guy I dated had just married my best friend.

Rochelle made a clucking sound. "You should have been paying attention. His brother is foine." She rolled her neck for effect, but didn't quite pull it off. I just stared. She'd been watching too much UPN again.

"Come on." I tugged at her arm and started back across the smattering of red-gold leaves, away from Mr. Foine. She'd hate me later if I didn't. If a brothah showed up tomorrow in response to Rochelle's flirting, she would run for her life while dictating a restraining order into her recorder.

Usually, her wedding trance would have been long since broken. But this was Tracey's wedding. And whether Rochelle and I were willing to admit it or not, we'd both thought that if anyone got married, it'd be one of the two of us, not the cute, fat, geek of the group. Not that Tracey was fat anymore. The plump-but-cute girl role was currently being played by moi. My midsection pressed against the strangling fabric of my dress as if in agreement."

Oh, this is funny, Mary. My sister-in-law made us wear red satin princess dresses. Cinched in at the waist, huge bell skirt. I am 5'2". And round. I've been the cute-but-plump girl most of my life. In this dress, I had perfect circumference. Put a green beret on my head, and I would have looked like a tomato. Anybody else have a horror story? Describe your dress if you dare.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Cancer, Contests, and Cute Guy Friday

A reminder about our don't want to miss out.

Speaking of contests, I'm not gonna finish NaNoWriMo. Trying to get from 30,000 to 50,000 words in a few days ain't happening. Hey, I have a life, okay? And who decided to do this in November? Hello, holiday season, much? Kids home from school fall on daylight computer time like ravening wolves on a girl in a red cape. But it hasn't been a bad experience, really. I got more done in a shorter amount of time than I ever have before. And I like my story, like my characters, like where it's going. It's just that if I rush through to meet the deadline and get my certificate, it'll turn into crap.

The best part of Thanksgiving this year- I got to see my mom and pet her fuzzy head. She's recently finished her course of chemo and radiation for lung cancer. She's so strong, but she wanted the option of not being strong. I totally understood. You actually can be stoic and scared at the same time.

The tumor is gone, but the effects linger. She's on a steroid that makes her cheeks puffy, and has to wear wigs. She's got a beautiful red one (she's normally blond) that gave her an interesting anecdote. She tried to write a check for something and the clerk wouldn't accept it.

Clerk: (looking at an ID of a thin blond woman) I can't accept this check.

Mom: (a somewhat fluffier redhead) Why not? It's good, I promise!

Clerk: This doesn't look like you. This is a fake ID.

She went a few rounds with this eagle-eyed cashier and finally told her she'd been on chemo and wiggled her wig. The poor clerk practically melted. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Oh, I'm so sorry!!" She even carried my mom's bags out to her car.

I said "Mom, you should have started crying. She'd have given you the stuff for free."

Don't know if it will be a regular feature, but I felt like it today so here it is:
Sometimes You Just Have to Stop and Thank God for Making Something That Pretty.

Adrian Paul from Highlander, in case you didn't know. Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Contest! With Like, A Prize And Everything!

No, really. Not kiddin'.

There's a very funny author over at Steeple Hill named Mary Griffith. She's a hoot. And I e-mailed her and she e-mailed me back so I can tell people "Hey! I know her!" right?

Anyway, she has a book coming out December 27.

The blurb says, "How many wedding cakes does she have to eat to be the bigger person?"

And I cannot snark that cover. It's funny for the right reasons.

Missie and I will be doing an interview with the Divine Ms. G on December 28, 2005. We'll also announce the winner of the contest that day.

Win what? An autographed copy of Made of Honor.

What's the contest? Glad you asked. Put your snark hats on. The successful contest entrant shall:

  • Present a romance novel title with a one or two sentence blurb, totally worthy of Snarkling Clean's proud traditions. For example:

"The Homey and the Hoochymama- He wanted easy money; she was just easy."

  • You must totally make this up yourself, no peeking!
  • The above example is as racy as we want; PG please.
  • You can enter as many times as you want from December 1 to Dec 15. Enter in the comments of any blog entry, no matter the subject.
  • Missie and I will choose the winner; in the event of a tie Camy will decide since she got us into this. Plus, since Missie and I actually live about 1,500 miles away from each other I can't wrestle her to the ground.

UPDATE: You don't have to do a "blank and the blank" title. Anything you like, such as:

"A Room With a could she resist a man with slides of Disneyworld?"

I'll be posting excerpts from Mary's book every so often until then. Eat lots of turkey, thank God you only see those relatives once a year, and Happy Snarking!

Excerpt of Made of Honor, by Mary Griffith


"I'm turning into a Chia pet.

With legs.

Little children are starting to toss dandelions when they see me. The brides of Leverhill, Illinois have taught the kiddies well. One little darling from church, a cutie with zigzag parts and snaggle teeth, wants to grow up and take my job-big flower girl. The little girl nailed it, especially about the big part, but we're not going there. Not today, with my formerly fat best friend looking like Twiggy goes bridal, while I gasp for breath in a dress fit for a train wreck. My only consolation is not having to worry about Tracey aiming a floral missile (known to some as a bouquet) at my head later on.

She wouldn't do me like that, would she? Nah. At least that's what I tell myself, but then I thought this wedding wouldn't happen either. Still, this bride is one of my closest friends and my roommate for the past three years. Tracey Cox, well, Tracey Blackman now, has picked enough baby's breath out of my teeth to know better.

Just in case though, a pint of Chunky Monkey and a pedicure appointment await me after this reception. Who knows? Tracey just might snap and throw long. Marriage does things to people. One day they're normal and the next they're inviting total strangers to wear ugly dresses in their weddings and then after the ceremony, said brides proceed to cut off all communication with members of the wedding party except for goofy Christmas photos of the newlyweds cradling an ugly dog, signed "from all of us." And don't let them actually get pregnant. Have you ever seen an entire album of birth photos? Not cute.

Do I sound bitter?

I'm not. I have friends. Sistahs even. And trying to keep up with them, keep my job and stay right with God occupies most of my time. Like now. I need to find Rochelle, my other best friend (yes, I have two) and founder of the Sassy Sistahood email list. If I don't catch up to her soon, she might make a fool of herself.

Or me.

Though my girlfriend is a paragon of virtue most days, weddings turn Rochelle into a gelatinous pool of desperation. Remember the birth photo album I mentioned? It's worse. Okay, so nothing's worse than that, but it's bad. Even the sight of me, voluptuous black woman tangled in tulips after a bouquet toss, is easier on the eyes."

Monday, November 21, 2005

Pillow Talk

My son was all a-twitter last weekend because Star Wars Episode IVIXXIVVIXX: Thank God It's Over, came out on DVD. They made me see it in the theatre, too, but the whole movie was lost on me. All I could see was that Hayden Christianson's hair was uncombed and it drove me nuts. They could do Padme's hair into mind-bending, gravity-defying tresses, but I guess the bajillion dollar budget didn't include a comb for the star. I felt like a mom on the first day of school. "Here, honey, let me just get that hair out of your eyes. And c'mere, you got a schmutz..."

But thanks to our seventh viewing at home, I got over the hair thing (well, sorta) and I concentrated on the fantastic, insightful dialogue.

Anakin: "You are so...(pause you could drive a truck through. Come on, think of the word, use the force, speakdangitalljustspeak!) beautiful."

Padme: "It must be because I'm so in love."

Anakin: "No, it's because I'm so in love."

GAH. I honestly expected them to start Beavis and Butthead laughter right then- heheheheheheheheh. Oy.

I started to think of the last time I had heard in a movie, or even read in a book for that matter, good romantic dialogue. Yes, I'm a still a sucker for that line from Jerry MacGuire:

"You had me at hello." Took me right back to my first love-at-first-sight experience.

Sometimes it's not the words, it's the execution. Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca:

"Here's looking at you, kid." Oh, the look on his face. If ever a man loved a woman, you just knew in your bones that Rick loved Elsa.

But especially in books, I want to swoon! From Lynn Kurland's Stardust of Yesterday:

(the ghost of an incredibly noble medieval knight has just knelt at the heroine's feet) "Shall I slay dragons for you, my lady?" Oh, good grief, I almost fainted when I read that.

And from a book so forgettable I can't tell you the name (because I can't remember it) but the last line got to me:

(a ship's captain has just proposed to the heroine, explaining that he'll never be rich) "But I can promise you a heart that beats for you and you alone, until it beats no more." SWOON! *thud*

A line penned by my very own beloved, who is a total sci-fi loving, RPG playing geek who makes up for it by writing me a poem or a note every Valentine's Day:

"I wanted to bring you a basket of daisies, to show you what your smile can do."

Yes, I can hear the awwwwwws from here. What about you? What's your favorite pillow talk?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Is There A Garlock Anonymous?

I don't know about you, but there always seem to be one or two authors I keep going back to in spite of the fact that they write the SAME BOOK EVERY TIME. Or, I love re-reading a book even though parts of it make me gag or cringe or cry. Not the good kind of crying, you understand, just weeping at the badness of it all.

For me, it's Dorothy Garlock. I've read every single one of her westerns, even though I needn't have bothered after the first one. But I keep going back and re-reading them, too, and I don't know why.

I'm not alone- DG is in the amazing best-seller "we're not worthy to breathe your air" category. She's sold a kajillion books. Even if it's the same one, over and over.

Her heroines are all feisty, spunky, perky, and any other adjective that ends in y. And they all share one thing in common- they want nothing to do with the hero. Nothing, I tell you! That man is a rotten, no-good, lily-livered polecat! Until he starts kissing her. Then, yeah, we're gonna have a Swooning Tonsil Swab and probably a Protuberance Squash, after which she'll gain her senses and yell at him while he smiles and assures her there's more where that came from cuz we're meant to be together.

And the beat goes on for five chapters. Spunky doesn't just dislike this guy, she HATES him. Everyone tells her she's really in love with him, including the sister/niece/stepdaughter/insert supporting character for whom she's responsible. Cause that character's always there, too, I guarantee it. And she'll find her own love by the end of the book, throwing Spunky into turmoil.

Dastardly Villain will menace her some way, usually sexually, and almost always with a bad hick accent. "Hit ain't no use fer ya ta tell me ya don't want me fer yer feller, cuz Ah gots a powerful hankerin' fer ya. Ah knows how you women likes it. Haw, haw, haw!"

By this time Spunky has had 5.6 Heave-and-Throb sessions with Rugged hero, and told him 5.6 times that she doesn't even like him and leave her alone, and I can't for the life of me figure out why he keeps coming back. It's not for the coppafeels, because Brazen Hussy is always right around the corner, thrusting her protuberances under his nose. Rugged, despite the fact that he's all man and may have slept with this one before and the girl he loves continually treats him like slime, refuses her. That is SO believeable.

Then, at some inexplicable point, more often than not a rescue from danger and certain death, Spunky admits hey! I was wrong! I don't hate and loathe and revile him. I luuuuuuurve him! ARRRGGGHHH.

We're treated sometime in the book to a drawn-out description of Dastardly Villain's Sword of Love reaction to Spunky or Brazen Hussy's weird bedroom experience. I always look forward to that, lemme tell ya.
And after the big admission of lurve, suddenly Rugged isn't rotten skunk, he's my darling, my dear one, my love. Hurl bag, please!

And Spunky will always do something totally out of character, that makes you scratch your head and say, "What?" In the one I just re-read, Nightrose, Spunky has been subjected to all sorts of bad guys in mining towns. She moaned and groaned about how she hated getting pinched and groped and propositioned all the time, and hated having to carry a gun to defend herself, and men were rutting pigs. And she's a fighter, not afraid to shoot or punch or kick, so violence isn't a no-no for her. This nasty old lecher nearly forces a fifteen year old girl, and she witnesses it. Rugged, who owns the town, calls for a jury who decide to give the guy 50 lashes. SHE OBJECTS TO IT. We have to call the law, she says. You're not a feudal lord. This is barbaric.

Give me a freaking break. DG has told me for 3/4 of the book that Spunky hates being taken advantage of by men, and isn't afraid of violence, yet when some guy tries to force a girl, she's going to say 'let the sheriff handle it?' She'd be stringing him up by his Sword, that's what she'd be doing!

So tell me, is there any hope for me? Why do I keep reading these things? Maybe I need to contact Dr. Phil.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Inner Me

Saw this over at Smart B*****s and had to grab it for us.

According to this geek with way too much time on his hands, we all have a real meaning to our names. All we need is the Sexy Name Decoder.

I am, in reality,

So true, so true. Deep down, who are you?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Salacious and the Snark

Virginia Henley's titles were just as funny as the covers, so in this edition you're getting a twofer. And the cover blurbs just made us go SQUEEEE!

The Falcon and the Flower

"Promised to him in marriage, she vowed not to surrender her body or her soul!"

Why does she have that goofy grin? Is he giving her a horsey ride on his knee? And that is the stupidest armor I've ever seen. "Yes, you might ram your sword right through my vitals, but my neck is covered!"

Miss Flower? When someone vows not to surrender her body? She doesn't then sit on a guy's lap with her chest in his face. Just FYI.

The Raven and the Rose

"She was a proud, wild rose that only the Raven could tame."

Wow, they had really good conditioner in the middle ages, no? But Lord Mullet-Smythe there has me worried. Why is he practically out of his shirt but he still has his sword? I mean, wouldn't you worry about a boyfriend who said he loved you and he adored you and he wanted tea and crumpets but he had to keep hold of a sharp, pointy object?

How is he gonna tame this wild rose, force her to grow around an arbor? This cover makes my head hurt. And I cannot be expected to snark properly when my head hurts.

The Pirate and the Pagan

"He would risk anything to conquer her wild, hellion heart!"

Again with the shirtless swordbearing. This cover artist is starting to scare me. Nice pair of Santa Claus boots, though.

She makes me want to cry. In sympathy. No woman should have her protuberances that mashed unless she's having a mammogram.

He's risking catching a nasty cold. I'm just sayin.

Dr. Laura:
A woman known for having a "hellion heart" is not the best relationship risk. I'm just sayin'.

The Dragon and the Jewel

"He would sell his warrior soul to possess her forbidden innocence!"

I'm getting seriously creeped out. This guy's totally ready for crumpets but he's STILL WEARING THE SWORD! I do not want to know what happens in this novel.

Nice that he took her to Burger King on her birthday, though.

Missie's husband:
"I had breakfast with the King!"

Can we be done with the whole concept of SellingYourSoulForLove thing, please? When I got married, the vows were love, honor, obey (yeah, right), forsake all others, but no selling of the soul was mentioned. I would have remembered that.

And I am unclear on the forbidden innocence. What does that even mean? Book Publishing People, please, please, Ibegofyouplease, if you are going to put a blurb on the front of the book, please make it make sense!

Virginia's titles were so good, our own muses were tickled. We submit these for your consideration:

The Witch and the Wino
The Homey and the Hoochymama
The Teacher and the Telemarketer
The Polygamist and the Programmer
The Computer Geek and the Communicable Disease Carrier

The Square Dancer and the Stalker
The Receptionist and the Ragpicker
The Neurologist and the Nuclear Regulator
The Acrobat and the Absentee Voter
The Nymphomaniac and the National Guard

Next: Why Are These People Still Outside?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Oh Happy Day!

Something happened to me today.
Something so wonderful, so stupendous, so looked-forward-to.
Something I didn't expect to occur for at least another month.

I fit into my pre-pregnancy Ralph Lauren jeans.

Well, perhaps fit is too strong a word. I should clarify that I pulled them on, zipped them up, and closely resembled a sausage about to bust out of its casing. But the point is, they were on! And what was the first thing I did after I zipped them up? (If you guessed immediately passed out due to lack of blood flow to my lower body, you would be wrong. Close, but wrong).

I cried.

These are the same jeans I tried on about five days ago and couldn't get the button and button-hole to come within about four inches of each other. After that unsucessful attempt, I hung the jeans in the front of my closet as incentive and told myself that I would wear these jeans by my birthday in early December. Something made me want to try them on again today, so I did. Woo-hoo!

So, I am in said jeans, and go out to show my husband who hasn't seen me in anything but maternity pants since the beginning of this year. The conversation went something like this:

Me: (crying) Look!
Him: (confused look, trying to figure out why I am crying) What happened?!?
Me: (pointing to my pants) Look!
Him: (looking at my legs for signs of injury, and upon seeing none, looks back at my face) What, honey?!?
Me: (crying, pointing to my pants) I am wearing these jeans (sob, sob) and I haven't been able to since January!
Him: (still with the confused look) This is good, right? We're happy?
Me: (still crying but not hard enough not to be sarcastic) Well, duh! Yes, we're happy! These aren't maternity jeans! Geez!
Him: (wondering if our insurance covers psychiatric treatment) Ooo-kaaay. Good. Good girl.
Me: How do they look?
Him: (thinking carefully about his answer) You look really nice. I like your sweater.
Me: (loving him for trying to spare my feelings and not lie at the same time, which he's not very good at but he tries) I know I look like I could blow these things off if I have gas, but I am wearing them anyway! Alright?!?
Him: (slowly backing away with the children) Whatever you say, honey.

Poor guy.

After I poured myself into my jeans, I went out to a nice lunch with my friend, Jessica. The baby behaved in the restaurant and we had a great time solving the problems of the world.

All in all, it was a happy day.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Serious, for a moment

Please go read Bernita's Remembrance Day post. She says it much better than I. It's known as Veteran's Day here, but no less heartfelt.

My grandfather was a Marine in WWII, and fought on Iwo Jima. My uncle was a Marine who served in Japan. My cousin, career Army, fought in both Desert Storm and Afghanistan, and continues to serve today. My father-in-law served in Korea.

My thanks to all the men and women who have fought, and are fighting, so I can be free. You do nothing less than save the world. I pray Psalm 91 for you-

"His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you...for He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways."

Come home soon.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Villains, Anyone?

My hubby just rented The Scorpion King. My ever loving great grandmother, The Rock makes me drool.
That, my friends, is a Thundering Breastplate.
And I bet his protuberances are sharper than his sword.
But one thing bothered me after I watched the
movie again- I found myself ten times more fascinated with the villain than with the hero.
Stephen Brand spoke with that English accent (there's no menace like civil British menace) and smiled and I was like, "Rock? Rock who?"
What's wrong with me? I started thinking about it, and I usually root for the villains under my breath. In Robin Hood?
Forget Kevin Costner. Alan Rickman was Snidely Whiplash on speed and I loved him.
[the Sheriff has said he'll cut out Robin Hood's heart with a spoon]
Guy of Gisborne: Why a spoon, cousin? Why not an axe?
Sheriff of Nottingham: Because it's DULL, you twit, it'll hurt more.
The Patriot. As much as I love Mel Gibson, Jason Isaacs owned me. "Burn the town? No, no. Burn the church." OOO! He was evil. And I couldn't wait for him to come back onscreen.
Die Hard. Alan Rickman again. Bruce Willis was shirtless but grimy, bloody, and foul-mouthed. Alan was smooth, charming, and absolutely ruthless. I couldn't take my eyes off of him.
Lest you think it's only Brits- well, okay, it is mostly- remember Highlander? Christopher Lambert was totally drool-worthy. He had the best pick-up line in the world- "I am Conor MacLeod of the clan MacLeod, and I cannot die."
But Clancy Brown as the Kurgen...oh, he was no misunderstood anti-hero. He was a villain who reveled in his villainy. From growling at little old ladies in church "Happy Halloween, Ladies!" to singing "New York, New York" to the kidnapped heroine while driving like a maniac to his best line:
"It's better to burn out! Than fade away..."
How about you? Do you find villains more appealing? And what does that say about us?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Hey, I'm Busy Here

Missie's working like a fiend and I'm trying to do this insane NaNoWriMo thing-AAUUUGGGHHH! I'm a pantser! Me no likey!

So I'm totally letting images from do this blog for me. (Warning: some of their stuff is very funny but a lot of it is also very rude. Surf at your own risk.)

I'm actually writing a Regency, but I love thrillers. And a good thriller is only as good as its villain. I've found the basic formula for thriller villains, and it goes something like this:

Take one cute, innocent supporting character.

Turn him/her into this, only in secret.

Let a crippling emotional episode from childhood, combined with irrational psychotic anger at being thwarted by hero/heroine turn mere murderer into this.

Make sure villain gets an appropriately humiliating comeuppance.

See? It's easy. If my friend Doug is reading today, I've got a pic for your next fantasy/ SF story:

I don't know about the rest of my NaNo compadres, but trying (and failing) for 10,000 words by tonight makes me feel like this:

Good luck NaNos!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Random Martian Musings

Please, please, please, go and read Katie MacAlister's Romancing the Blog entry. I'd post a quote, but it's much funnier if you go read it yourself. Thanks again for the laughs, Katie!

And while you're at it, take a gander at Bernita's rhythmical synopsis for her time-travel-sword-and-sorcery story. I howled.

You know, when I was going through my toilet spewing move-in dementia, I had a moment of weakness. In the middle of the mess, I had to work. I am a retail merchandiser for Hallmark. Before you're too impressed, that means I restock the cards and giftwrap at that section of my local WalMart supercenter. After dealing with sewage at home and WalMartians all day, I was weak.

And by the way- WalMartians are the unstoppable alien forces that will take over the earth. There is nothing, nothing we can do that will deter them. They refuse to understand that I am a birthday card pusher, and do not know why Sam Walton doesn't have the garden trashbags in the bigger sizes. They continue to look confused when I tell them I'm not sure, but the ink pen refills just might be with the ink pens. And the guy who tried to get my opinion on the best women's home perm? "You may want to hunt down one of the people in a blue vest. Ooo! Look! A red vested one--hurry! That's a department manager!" As I understand it, there are parts of the supercenter where people have innocently wandered, looking for the Funyuns, and were never seen again.

But I digress. In that moment when I was exhausted and sore, my backbone resembled a jellyfish, when one more person asked me where they could find the registers?! (For benefit of you blessed people who don't have a supercenter, the entire front third of the store is taken up with registers that have approximately 186 people in each line, moving slowly because the cashiers are either teenage girls talking to the cart boys who don't really care what they're saying but want to get a date, or a 60 year old woman who is your new long lost best friend and decides to catch up on all your juicy details right then.)

After signing out of work, quickly ripping off my nametag so no one would think I was an employee, and thinking about Funyuns, I saw them. My ultimate guilty pleasure.

The Harlequin Presents rack.

HQP books remind me of what Chris Rock said about the Spice Girls. "They're like crack. No one wants to admit to it, but you know there's a lot of people doing it!" The Presents line, in particular, is singled out for ridicule, and with good reason. With titles like The Sheik's Runaway Secretly Pregnant Mistress, they ask for it, don't they? And I must admit to you now, I bought one.

Hey, even WalMartians know they're only 2 bucks here.

I vacillated on the titles. I almost got Pregnancy of Revenge but figured that heroine was just TSTL. Any woman knows pregnancy don't hurt the guys, right? So I settled on Michelle Reid's The Brazilian's Blackmailed Bride.

I'm not gonna bother with a review here. Suffice to say I got just what I was after: a complete escape from reality. One part really struck me, though, and I'll give the quote in context.
"Eager, needy, her fingers made familiar contact with the whorls of dark hair covering his thundering breastplate, curling, then scoring into his flesh to make him shudder with pleasure..."

BWAHAHAHAHAhahahaha...hooo...hahaha...oh my.

Sorry. I'm in control now. Heehee...

Thundering Breastplate. Has a much better ring than man-booby, doesn't it? That's it. Thundering Breastplate has just joined the Snarkling Clean Euphemisms. But what is up with the scoring nails?

I've read several times about heroines in the One With The Cosmos moments raking the old claws down loverboy's back. Is this really supposed to make men shudder with pleasure? My husband will be so glad I found this out.

I can see the needy men now, heading for the cosmetics counter, pushing the women out of the way in their search for Sally Hansens Hard as Nails Fingernail Strengthener for their sweethearts. And stopping to give thanks to their leader.


In the next few paragraphs, the author describes the hero's reaction when he gets a look at Claw Girl's protuberances.
"On a growl he pounced, sending her slender spine arching on a quivering cry as he took possession..."

Beyond the initial OUCH! (I bet all you ladies crossed your arms over your own protuberances when you read that) all I could think was "slender spine?" Slender body, slender torso, even slender back, but spine is bones, right? Aren't they all slender? Hey, that means I could be a romance heroine. I have a slender spine!

I'd better sign off, as I do have to work tomorrow. Think of me kindly, dear friends. The WalMartians are coming.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Horse Cover Models- Stop the Abuse!

We’ve noticed a terrible trend in covers: the absolutely horrible way our equine friends are treated. They are strong, noble, gentle creatures who have ever been man’s allies and helpers. But this is the thanks they get?

Beauty and the Beast

This horse looks ticked. Ticked and a little jealous. “Look at all the work I’ve gone to. My saddle’s polished. I’m high stepping. And I totally woke up early so I could get these curls in my mane. But does he appreciate it? Noooo. He decides to pick up some tramp who’s coming out of her dress. Well, I can take consolation in the fact that if he holds her like that he’s gonna break her ribs. If that doesn’t work I can always leave a little present in her blankets.”

And look, little girls, this My Pretty Pony set comes complete with Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon Ken doll and Hawaiian Acid Trip Slut Barbie for hours of playtime fun. Ginormous Rose for Jumping Over sold separately.

John Riley’s Girl

Is nothing sacred? I know I keep saying GO INSIDE, but I meant the ranch house, not the barn! Roll in the hay is a euphemism, mmkay? This poor little foal is going to be traumatized for life!

Doe, a deer, a female deer....that's what this alleged horse looks like. Seems to me, ole John shouldn't oughta be having a wild animal in his barn. (get it, wild animal in his barn?) Okay, seriously, I got nothin.

Highland Velvet

Two words: HOLY. CRAP. You’d better stop trying to scoop her up, sir, and pay attention to your horse. He don’t want her in his saddle, and who can blame him? That is one seriously scary chick. She looks like Braveheart Elvira.

The Prince of Darkness called. He would like his horse back.

The Raider

I don’t think your hair is supposed to have the perfect circumference of your hoop skirt, is it? And how, exactly, are they sitting on that horse? I can’t figure it out. It must be painful for the poor thing. He’s totally getting ready to take a chunk out of you, Raider! Course, if Mr. Mysterious thinks that puny little mask is going to keep his identity secret, he’s not too bright.

Feeling lonely and out of sorts by the recent marriage of his friend Tonto, the Lone Ranger finds solace in the arms of Static Girl. Together, they roam the hills, ride the prairies, and restyle the mane of his trusty horse in honor of Loney's favorite eighties band, Flock of Seagulls.

Next: Virginia Henley Covers Are Not Safe!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


First, a big hi to all the visitors and thanks to my regulars who prayed, stuck pins in voodoo landlord dolls, or otherwise sent good juju. I appreciate it. A big thank you to my fellow snarkista who kept you all amused. I owe you, Missie.

We are finally officially moved into this townhouse. The priest just left and is now completely out of holy water, but them's the breaks.

In one way, it was a good move. Since we only went 2 miles away, we moved with a friend's small trailer one room at a time. We don't have to be out of the house until Dec. 6th, but we wanted to move before the cold and the holidays. So, the day before the move we excitedly go in to sign the lease and get the keys. The secretary has the day off. The woman in charge has left to go to the doctor, her son the manager is who knows where and her poor little husband, who is retired and has nothing to do with this business, is answering the phone for her. All questions posed are answered with a shrug and a helpless look.

The lease, though, is filled out, asking for the full month's rent. In spite of the fact that we're moving in on the 15th. Well, he calls desperately all over creation looking for his wife or his son, and finally we get the twelve things changed on the lease that needed to be rewritten.

Ah, the keys! We waited 15 days so they could finish repairs, and we entered our new domicile in happy anticipation. Clean carpet, check; new paint; check...and that's it. At least they threw away the cheetos that someone had left in the kitchen. Our new landlord calls. "Oh, yeah...we couldn't get to everything. We'll send someone over as soon as we can." I was soooo comforted.

One defect I was glad they hadn't touched- the downstairs bath. It's a little half bath, just a stool and a sink with a cabinet underneath. And someone chose dark brown wallpaper. I mean, it's the color of chocolate. Normally I wouldn't mind any reminders of chocolate, but I mean...that particular color in a bathroom? I'm sure you catch my drift. It looks like a cave. Except that there are these tiny beige chevron looking thingies in opposing diagonal lines, which form lots and lots of little bitty diamonds. If you look at it too long, you get mesmerized. So it's a good thing there's a big chunk ripped out of it near the door. If you didn't have that white expanse to stare at, someone could give you subliminal suggestions to moon the President or something. We immediately dubbed it the Hypno-Hershey Bathroom.

"We didn't get the wallpaper changed yet," says Landlord.

"No problem!!! Can I do it?"

So at least I get to choose my own wallpaper. But of course, the back sliding glass door opens just enough to squeeze through because the runner is bent, and the closet doors on the master and my daughter's rooms are stashed behind furniture in the living room because they don't work and are actually really old and use sliding mechanisms from the fifties that they can't get parts for but naturally the repair guy came out, took the doors off and stared at them for an hour and a half while muttering 'Hmmph' to himself and still hasn't been back to put them on. I'm going to tell him forget it. I'll hang curtains or love beads or something.

Then I noticed another sweet little quirk. The kitchen is cute but tiny; the dishwasher opens to the east. The oven opens to the south. Apparently when they replaced the oven with a newer model, they didn't realize the newer ones are deeper. Result? The dishwasher door knocks into the oven. I can't open my dishwasher unless I open the oven first. About this time, I'm thinking I'd better get one great book out of this.

And two showers and a load of laundry later, hubby notices water is absolutely spewing from the sides of the Hypno-Hershey toilet. The previously clean carpet in front of the door is now soaked (and gross) and our lightning quick repair guys must visit us three times before concluding that they need an actual plumber. They at least got the water to spew from the broken access valve in the back. And sitting on our back porch was so pleasant as long as you didn't forget your haz-mat suit. But after the real plumbers ground three feet of tree roots out of the line, it's all good.

What would have made it bearable was snarking and surfing. But no, we had all sorts of phone and DSL issues, too, including putting in a hundred dollar phone jack. He came out, punched a hole in the wall and put a plug in it. A hundred ten dollars for that?

Thanks again, Missie, for helping keep everybody going. Hugs and cyber candy to one and all!