Monday, February 26, 2007

On a reading binge

This morning my word meter pushed past 60,000 words on THE SWORD SWALLOWER’S DAUGHTER. That I got any writing done this weekend is a big deal. Not that anything cool was going on, but my pre-orded copy of FINN by Jon Clinch arrived and I’ve been engrossed in reading it. FINN is the story of Huckleberry Finn’s father, the notorious Pap Finn who kidnaps, beats, and imprisons Huck in Mark Twain’s THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN. Those familiar with Twain’s story know that Pap Finn dies and Huck finds it no loss. Jon Clinch doesn’t make old Pap a sympathetic soul, so knowing he’s bound to die doesn’t ruin the storyline.

FINN is like extra-dark, Belgian chocolate. The prose is so rich, the matter of the story so weighty, you can’t take too much in one setting. I find myself reading a paragraph several times just to savor the mastery of tongue. How can someone write so beautifully about such horrible themes as child abuse, slavery, alcoholism, rape, murder, poverty, deceit? Jon Clinch can and does. That’s all for now. I’m off to read.

Books on my bedside table:

Monday, February 19, 2007

Squee with me

In the two weeks since I posted my Duh Moment, I had a Squee Moment. Or two. Maybe more. Read on and squee with me.

First squee: Remember one of my new year’s resolutions was to submit my short stories this year? Since January 1st, I’ve sent out four stories.

Second squee: I received my acceptance on one of those four submissions. This is my first fiction credit and I squeed so loud my husby looked up from Law and Order to see what the ruckus was about. The Rose & Thorn, a distinguished online literary journal bought my story EXPERIENCED ONLY NEED APPLY for its Summer 2007 issue.

Third squee: My son received his first college admission letter last week. The following day he received a second letter from the college offering him an annual $5,500 scholarship. He’s also been invited to audition for a choir scholarship. This is the same college (a small, private college out of state) whose football coach had been calling on him. Jonathan decided to forego football in favor of music, but will be a pre-law major. Oh to be young.

Fourth squee: My short story STILL LIFE recently tied for first place in the Backspace contest that just ended. I’m sharing the spotlight with a fabulous author AS King, whose short story DOWN BOY is a kick. You’ll be seeing AS King on bookstore shelves one day soon, so drop by her site and get to know her now.

Fifth squee: I just finished reading a great business book. In my other life as a travel marketing consultant I am blessed to meet some of the most extraordinary people in all manners of life. John Klymshyn is one of those people. He is a motivational speaker who motivates from the heart, not just the mind. I’ve heard him speak on several occasions and each time I leave with new tools to strengthen and tune-up my business. Yet the spokes of his messages reach into other areas of my life—personal relationships, family activities, and yes, my personal writing. John’s recent book, THE ULTIMATE SALES MANAGER’S GUIDE contains some of the most practical, relevant, and doable tools for anyone leading teams of people, whether in sales, recreation, or life.

Sixth squee: Need to be pampered? I did. The night before last week’s SITE-SoCal/MPISCC event I spent a lovely night at the brand new Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village. My room looked out on the hotel’s, oriental gardens, a lush carpet to the Santa Monica Mountains backdrop. Tucked away in a business enclave in The Valley, that legendary haven north of LA, the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village could become one of the most sought after conference and meeting properties in Southern California. Beyond business, though, the hotel houses the California WellBeing Institute which offers medical, dietary, lifestyle, and fitness services and activities. A colleague in my group suggested this jewel was poised to be the dream wedding location for every bride in The Valley. A second colleague seconded that by saying he was already considering it for his daughter’s bat mitzvah. Location-wise, it’s only a 40-minute drive up the 101 from LA, has easy access to Malibu beaches and fabulous golf, and is only a short hop to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

Have you had a squee moment recently? Click the comments link below to share yours or to read about others. Now squee.