Monday, March 24, 2014

Celebrating my mom!

James and Mom

5 months ago today mom left us. She didn't want us to mourn but celebrate her life. One of my favorite things about mom was that she loved to sing and dance around the house. Abba was a big favorite and the song Mamma Mia is forever etched into my brain. Later on it was the soundtrack to Grease. Then there was Sentimental Journey. I don't remember who sang it - Frank Sinatra or Doris Day or Ella Fitzgerald. But mom used to always sing it a little off key which is how we all learned to sing it as well. I think she did it to make us laugh when we were just a touch too cranky or whiny. 

And she never swore. The only way you knew she was mad was 'The Look' or the slam of one of the kitchen cabinet doors. I found out later it actually felt good to slam a cabinet door, vent a little frustration. Just make sure it isn't the door to the china. *grin* Mom was always a very upbeat, very positive lady and she taught us love is unconditional. She was there no matter what and she still is and will always be in our hearts. 

Friday we had her memorial at their old church, St. Joseph's, in Clarksburg and it was beautiful. Father Dan made the mass personal and casual and a wonderful celebration of mom's life which is what she would have wanted. We had one hitch at the national cemetery when discovered we didn't have a special California permit, which no one had told us about. However, the folks there pulled out all the stops and things turned out for the better. Instead of going to one of the committal shelters for the ceremony, we got to go directly to the columbarium. Dad placed mom's urn in their niche which made him happy. I was happy because it was the section in front of the lake with the beautiful fountain. When James and I had previously gone to check out the cemetery, we drove around and stopped at the section in front of the lake.  "This is the spot" I said and guess I must have sent up a quiet prayer because that's where she ended up.  


Entrance



Afterwards we gathered at my niece's house and celebrated with our family and friends.  Mom is in her new home and I imagine her up in  heaven, happily playing bridge with my mother in law and exchanging stories about all their children.

In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.  ~Robert Ingersoll

Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Review: Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb

Author Synopsis:  In a decrepit, long-empty New York building, Lieutenant Eve Dallas's husband begins the demolition process by swinging a sledgehammer into a wall. When the dust clears, there are two skeletons wrapped in plastic behind it. He summons his wife immediately–and by the time she's done with the crime scene, there are twelve murders to be solved.
The place once housed a makeshift shelter for troubled teenagers, back in the mid–2040s, and Eve tracks down the people who ran it. Between their recollections and the work of the force’s new forensic anthropologist, Eve begins to put names and faces to the remains. They are all young girls. A tattooed tough girl who dealt in illegal drugs. The runaway daughter of a pair of well–to–do doctors. They all had their stories. And they all lost their chance for a better life.
 
Then Eve discovers a connection between the victims and someone she knows. And she grows even more determined to reveal the secrets of the place that was called The Sanctuary–and the evil concealed in one human heart.



As always, once I started reading, couldn't put it down. Eve is trying to solve the murder of 12 homeless kids between the ages of 12 - 14. Their bones were found hidden behind false walls in a closed shelter. As each one was identified and a forensic artist provided faces to go with each one, Eve is left with the task of having to notify the families. The beginning is different in that it isn't a death scene or the voice of Eve, we hear, but Roark's which sets an entirely different tone for the story.  The death of children is always a difficult subject and I can see why some folks had a hard time with the story. And there wasn't too much excitement, compared to the prior story, Thankless in Death, in which the reader got blasted entirely too much with the horrific thoughts of the killer. All the characters we love were involved, and learned more about Mavis's background, prior to meeting Eve. Plus a new character is introduced - forensic anthropologist, Garnet DeWinter. It was more a straight forward police procedural and the ending a bit anticlimactic, both for Eve and the reader, as she was left not entirely satisfied, even though she caught the killer.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Writerly Wednesday: Dialogue

This week's task was to do a scene using only dialogue and not tags.  Easier said than done.  I wanted to do a scene with Bree from Red Thief, but she was too busy working, debugging a computer program to speak to me.   So did one of those - open up a vein and see what happens - moments. 




Molly and Julie

I can’t stand this. Nothing is coming out right.  I can’t read or write. Everything in my brain is so jumbled.

Slow down a minute, Molly and take a deep breath.  Now, tell me what’s been going on. 

It’s Jason. He’s seeing that, that, that witch again, the one with the yellow hair.

You mean Dora, Seriously?

Seriously! She’s got her claws into him somehow and he’s stone deaf, dumb and blind.  Can’t eat, sleep,
or drink anything but her. 

When did this happen?

Couple days ago!  I was driving to the market and there they were, canoodling right in the middle of Main Street, by Sherry’s Craft Store. 

Canoodling?  

She had her tongue so far down his throat I’m surprised it didn’t come out his ass.

Molly!  Come on now. 

No, seriously dude, it was gross.  She doesn’t know the meaning of the word no. Has no propriety to her what so ever.  Doesn’t even care if she poaches another girl’s guy.  He was into it too. You could tell. 

So what are you going to do?

I don’t know. Should I tell Geri about it.  I’m surprised I haven’t heard from her. She would have told me if they broke up.  Oh God! I’m going to have to tell her.  

Why?

Why! Why? She deserves to know. I’d hate for her to see them. Or worse, have demon bitch tell her.  It’d break her heart.

Oh, I don’t know about that.  I saw Dora over at McCourt Inn and she seemed pretty chummy with Victor. Seems she’s into a lot of guys. Not just one.  She must want something out of Jason.  She’s a user and in the worst way.  Doesn’t care who she hurts or what she has to do to get her own way.  

Jason’s a dunderhead.  All he knows is football. 

He is strong and…  Actually, he’s just strong, fast on the football field,  and yeah, I agree, he doesn’t have any brains.  Everyone knows his brother does his homework.  So why is she after him? Do you think she needs him to move something or better yet,  beat someone up.  Who do you think?

Huh? Beat someone up?  Why is Jason doing the witch got you so bummed? I didn’t think you liked him or Geri. 

Well. My brother hangs with both of them and they both have been decent to me.  Well as decent as possible for idiots.

Speaking of idiots. What do you think of the new owner of the Art studio.

He’s a fairy.

Molly!  You shouldn’t say things like that, especially in here.

I didn’t mean it that way.  Fairy as in magical, mystical, weird. 

You’re right, he is weird.  I wonder what Mrs. Murphy sees in him.  He seems as  faithful as Jason.
And those clothes, on my gawd! 

The hair.

Weird!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Review: The Twelve by Justin Cronin

The Twelve by Justin Cronin
Author Synopsis: In the present day: As a man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos, desperate to find others, to survive, to witness the dawn on the other side of disaster. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, has been so broken by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her. Kittridge, known to the world as “Last Stand in Denver,” has been forced by loss of electrical power to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far. April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a minefield of death and ruin. These three will learn that they have not been fully abandoned—and that in connection lies hope, even on the darkest of nights.

A hundred years in the future: Amy, Peter, Alicia, and the others introduced in The Passage work with a cast of new characters to hunt the original twelve virals… unaware that the rules of the game have changed, and that one of them will have to sacrifice everything to bring the Twelve down.

The scope widens and the intensity deepens as the epic tale of sacrifice and survival begun in The Passage surges forward in its breathtaking sequel—The Twelve


It took me a bit of time to really get into The Twelve (#2 in the Passage Trilogy). Even though I went back and reread The Passage prior to starting the book, the beginning half was confusing. Too many new characters and story lines jumping back and forth in time.  It wasn't until the halfway point, I was able to put it all together and follow where Cronin was going with the story. It jumped between the beginning of the virus and how the infection killed or transformed people and the present with Peter, Amy, Michael and the cast of others from The Passage until the storyline merged to a cohesive whole and the fight to destroy the Twelve. It is one of those books that is definitely worth a reread. Especially since the last book, The City of Mirrors, is coming out some time this year. Yes, The Twelve was good, but a bit of a slog at first.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Writerly Wednesday: Conflict

This week's f2k lesson was all about conflict - minor conflict of some sort.  I had a scene already written in mind, one of the few in the story that was minor.  However, the lesson called for only 500 words.  Cut the scene down, hopefully while maintaining some sense of what was going on.






Bree walked down the stairs, the throbbing pain in her arm competing with her grumbling empty stomach. She entered the kitchen, the smell of garlic and onions made her mouth water.

“Oh Richard, I hope you saved me some leftovers. It smells delicious.”

She went around the corner, stumbled to a halt. The one man Richard hadn’t wanted her to meet, Adam Kotchara, the Russian mobster, leaned against the counter, holding a pie plate. He wore a heavy overcoat, his cheeks flushed from the cold. His black eyes glittered and one hand disappeared underneath his jacket. Bree put up her hand, palm out as she backed up.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t expect anyone to be in here.

Adam relaxed, gave her a half bow. “No problem. Miss Bree, correct? Forgive me for startling you,”

She glanced around the kitchen. “Where’s Richard?”

“Speaking with my father, They are old friends.” He watched her with unwavering dark eyes, making her want to bolt, but it was too late. “Please. Do not let me stop you from your meal. I believe there is a tray in the oven.”

Eating was the last thing Sabrina wanted to do but he gave her no choice. Eyeing the sling on her arm, he held out his hand. Resigned, she gave him the pot holder and let him pull out the tray. Her stomach growled at the sight of the food. Adam chuckled, placed the tray on the table and held out the chair.

“Come. Sit.” He picked up her knife and fork, nodded toward her plate. “May I?”

Sabrina’s face grew hot with embarrassment, but she stifled her pride. “Please.”

“What happened?”

She couldn’t tell him the truth. Up til now she hadn’t needed a cover story. “Accident with one of the horses. I fell, it got spooked and crushed my hand.”

“Hmm. Not plausible. Will have to come up with a better story.”

Bree blinked, sat back, undecided on what to do. It would be rude to get up and leave.

“I’m sorry, dear Bree. I do not mean to upset you. Please forgive me. But those of us who understand horses, know that particular scenario is not plausible.”

The back door slammed open at the same time as the kitchen door. Tory entered, just as Richard walked in with Doc at his heels.

Adam smiled. “Ah, the Calvary has arrived."

Sabrina red faced, glanced at the men. “I came down for something to eat and ran into Mr. Kotchara.”

“Yes, she caught me red handed having another piece of pie. Most delicious.” He handed the fork to Sabrina. "And assisted Miss Bree with her meal as no one else was around to do so. Is there a problem, gentlemen?"

Tory sat down in the rocking chair and glowered at them.

“Is he always so stern.” Adam asked Bree in Russian, “or is he pretending to be tough for your sake.”

Bree laughed, almost choked.

He patted her gently on the back. “Dah, he is big bad wolf.”