Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

I read a book recently that really got me thinking. It's by Jennifer Ashley and titled The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. In it, the hero, Lord Ian Mackenzie, has a disease of the mind. This is set in the 1880's, when medicine was still pretty archaic. Treatments were often worse than the original affliction. Lord Ian spent many years in an insane asylum, where they tried to beat the madness out of him. I won't get into too much detail, because you should check out the book.

His affliction was Asperger's Syndrome, which I believe is on the same level as autism, just not usually as severe. According to Wikipedia, people with Asperger's lack nonverbal communication skills, demonstrate limited empathy with their peers, and are physically clumsy. Ms. Ashley did a wonderful job portraying this in her book, especially the limited empathy.

'I can play this piece note for note' Ian said, his breath warm in her ear. 'But I can not capture its soul.'

Mmmm, yummy.

My question is- how much illness or injury can a hero have and still remain a hero? I know we generally like to read about stong, handsome, extremely masculine men sweeping the heroine off her feet. But what if, like a very large part of the rest of the population, he has glasses, or is overweight, or diabetic? Or what if he's been molested? Or, oh my gosh, maybe he's losing his hair! We have a large influx of wounded veterans returning home right now. The very fact that they fought valliantly for their country makes them heroes, right? Yet I've only seen one or two books deal with the subject.

I never thought Asperger's could be portrayed in a hero, and have the story work. I've seen the occasional case of OCD, but nothing more serious than that. I admire Ms. Ashley for what she has put out for the public. I think this was a well thought out portrayal of a not quite perfect hunk.

Check out her website here. You can read the first chapter of her book.

My question to you is- at what point does a hero physically, and mentally, stop being a hero? Or, what aspects/characteristics/flaws would you NOT give a hero? Or heroine, for that matter? Would the public be interested in these flawed heroes?

Let me know your thoughts...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Catching up...

So, hubby and I went out on a date Saturday night, and I just have to tell you how much I enjoyed it.

We went to Lexington Green, where Comedy Off Broadway is located. We planned to eat dinner first before we went to the show. On the patio of the seafood restaurant there at the Green, we heard somebody playing Hotel California by the Eagles. But we couldn't see them. When we finally got into position to see who was playing, we were stunned.

It was a little girl. 'Little' meaning 11, maybe 12. Long dark hair, jamming away on her guitar, doing bar chords, singing, working foot pedals to loop her music. She was spectacular. She gave me goosebumps just watching her. Unfortunately, that was the end of the set, and her dad started packing everything up. I never did figure out what her name was, but I have a feeling we'll see her again. She was THAT good!

And Roy Wood was good too. Hubby and I were worried, because our table was in the very front. We thought for sure we'd get picked on. But we didn't. I left that place in tears, I was laughing so hard. It's Monday, and I can still feel my sore tummy muscles. He wasn't exactly politically correct, but he was hilarious.

It was only about 9:30 when we got out of there, and not wanting to admit we were getting older and wanted to go home, we decided to go to a movie. Anybody seen the new Star Trek? Coming from one who has seen pretty much everything Star Trek, it was an awesome movie. Action packed, a lot of good backstory, great characters. I want to see it again.

Hubby and I had a wonderful date. Unfortunately, he developed a cold yesterday from allergies, and he's been sleeping the weekend away trying to get better. Doesn't it just figure?

Have a good Memorial Day all. Be sure to remember the meaning of the day. The picture above was just heartwrenching, and a reminder of what might have been lost.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fornication Farm...

So, talking to a relative the other day (who will remain nameless bc she has a dirty mind), she referred to my farm as "Fornication Farm". I laughed, but I really have no idea what she's talking about.

These are some of my older chicks. They've completely destroyed the inside of the rabbit hutch. Bunnies are NOT going to want to go back in there.

This is the hen taking care of her babies. There are 4 in the grass. Can you see them?

Then this is a picture of a couple of kittens we were suprised with yesterday. Video Game Cat (named by my daughter) is the stupidest thing I've ever seen. I think she may have actually been clipped in the head by a horse hoof. No balance, acts like a dog. I never imagined she would have babies. But she did.
Anyway, the black and white one has no tail, like her momma. I think having no tail makes momma stupid too. She's just not your average cat.

And the little box they're in. Yeah, my step-dad built that for when we have bunnies again.

I just don't understand what she means by "Fornication Farms".

Monday, May 18, 2009

Techniques of the Selling Writer...

Saturday I went to a meeting in Lexington for KYRW. Everybody was supposed to meet for lunch at Malone's before the meeting, but for some reason only 3 of us showed up. (Hi Fonda and Rita!) 9 showed up for the meeting, and Teresa Reasor did a great demonstration on Sue Vider's 'Deal a Story' card game. Oh, yeah, and I won a book. 'Techniques of the selling Writer'. I never winn anything! But Saturday was apparently my lucky day.
On my way home, I talked to hubby and decided to stop for pizza and beer. I went into Little Ceasars to pick up a couple of the ready made pizzas, and of course they were running out and had more in the oven. So, I ran a couple doors down to the liquor joint and watched the Preakness with the owner.
Damn! What a great race. For those of you who have not seen it, check it out here.
Even the replays give me goosebumps. Once again, Calvin Burel comes through.
Went back to LC and the pizzas still weren't done. I paid for 2 pizzas and an order of wings. By the time I had walked out of there, the girl had given me an extra pizza, crazy bread and dipping sauce to go with my original order. Because I had waited so long.
I'll wait an extra 10 minutes for another pizza. The spare went into the freezer for later.
Night all.
Oh, by the way, Chickie experiment is doing ok. Chicks in cage are growing faster than the Free-range Foursome, I think simply because they gorge themselves on the manufactured chick food. I put chickfood out for the Foursome, but they don't eat as much.
I'm just amazed none of the four have been eaten yet.
Till next time...

Friday, May 15, 2009

What's in a name...

So, I came across something kind of strange today. My own name.
I guess Criss Angel, the magician, stole a cat from some producer. The gist of it is; the producer's parents died, leaving him the family cat. The producer was living in a hotel at the time, so he left the cat with his friend Jennifer Madden, until he could move out of the hotel. Somehow or another, Criss Angel ended up with the cat. The producer is threatening to sue Angel if the cat is not returned, but Angel claims that the cat no longer likes the producer and wants to live with him .
Ok, whatever.
Anyway, when I saw my name there, it really did hit me as kind of strange and even a little offsetting. I don't know if I want to keep my own name when (IF) I get published. There is no other author, that I know of, with the same name, but still. Some anonymity will be required I think.
So, I was thinking about pen names. Some authors pick names out of their hats, or use their pets names. Some only use one single name. A lot of erotica authors use some kind of love related word in their name, like Wendy Harte or Buffi something-or-other (not actual authors names as far as I know, just examples).
So how 'bout:
Scarlet Bliss, or
Tori D. Afair, or
Beezee Hooker
Like any of those? I'm just joking, of course.
Uh, unless one sounds good.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday, wednesday...

Isn't this pretty? It's the view from my yard down to one of our ponds.

I wish the day was going to be as pretty. I have to take my son in to get an EEG, which is part of his testing for ADD. I talked to our local doctor about his discipline issues, and she set me up to get all these other things done. I, personally, don't think he has ADD. The teachers do. The doctor's not sure. But we have to rule it out. Last week, he was solid gold, and he only got 1 discipline stick for the week. Over the weekend he was perfect. Then Monday, I get a call that he had been suspended for writing bad things on his hand. Just for 1 day, but still. Frustrates the hell out of me.

While we are in town for the doctor, I am turning in my census bureau computer and misc. junk. My crew leader called me last night to see if I wanted to take a weekend trip to get Hazard, Ky done. Aren't they flooded right now? I told her no thank you. I have plans anyway to go to my KyRw meeting saturday. Yahoo!!!

I've been bitten by the writing bug bad since my job ended. Last night I think I pounded out about 7 K words on two different manuscripts. It helped that the house was quiet and I didn't have to break up my day with the job. Contemplating taking the laptop with me to the dr's office. Mmmm, maybe not. I'd be in deep doo-doo if something happened to it.

I'm also conducting an experiment. A chicken experiment. I have 20 some babies in my rabbit hutch right now under a heat lamp. Growing. Eating. Pooping. And growing some more. I also have a crazy gray hen who hatched out 4 babies. I don't think they're actually her babies, but they were under her when the eggs cracked, so she has claimed them. I've decided to let her raise the babies. Because as crazy as she is, she's an awesome momma. She clucks to the babies and digs then up food, guides them away from danger, etc. I'm really impressed with how well she's doing. I watched her last night for a while. She found a piece of dogfood on the ground yesterday, and banged that piece on the ground for probably 5 minutes so the babies could eat the smaller pieces. I'm embarrassed to say, it's fascinating to watch her.

So, my experiment is, to see which babies do better. Those in the cage being cared for by me, or the 4 babies running around with momma. I have a feeling momma will do better. I'll keep you updated.

Anyway, have a good Wednesday.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Update...

So, went up to my hometown this weekend to celebrate Mother's Day with 2 of my mothers. Not together, of course. Dad divorced Mom many, many years ago, and remarried an equally wonderful woman the kids call Grandma Nee. Dad still owns land in Cambridge, where Mom lives, so occasionally, my two moms are in the same town at the same time. Makes holidays a little easier, even if they are several miles apart.

We had a huge cookout on Dad's hill, and most of my family showed up to say hi and catch up. For a little background, Mom and Dad grew up together, literally a couple miles away. Dad's family and Mom's family were always close, working together on their farms, etc. Dad grew up with my 3 uncles, and have stayed friends ever since. It's also kind of strange, because my half-brother (Dad and Nee's son) is dating my 1st cousin on my mother's side. There's no blood relation of course, but there is a family connection.

Did you get that?

So, up on the hill, everybody gathers even though they are no longer related by marriage. They are still childhood friends, and very often you see those outlast many marriages.

Around the campfire we gather, day and night, swapping stories and gossip. The men ride bikes, shoot guns and drink beer. No, not all at the same time. The women compare kid stories, gossip about what's been going on in 'Douglas Hollow' (so-named because there are so many of my relatives around) and worry about what the men are doing. Throw in a few new friends, newly found relatives, and you've got an awesome party going.

We had planned on seeing Mom on Sunday, before we headed back to Ky, but she called Saturday asking for my help with Moose. She had just gotten a new mare who was in full heat, and Moose was having problems reaching her with his, well, you know.

I'm going to try to keep this as clean as possible.

The mare is 33 inches tall, and Moose is only 29 inches. Now, 4 or 5 inches isn't a big deal to you or me, but to Moose it may as well have been a mile.

So, Mom wanted me to come up and help Moose, uh...copulate.

And I did.

First we tried a raised area outside where the horses drop hay from the mangers. It's a raised area about six inches above the field itself. Mom backed the mare up to the board, and Moose mounted her from the raised area. All was going good until he took a small step forward, over the board. He lost his balance and tipped over to the right, falling to the ground. The bad part was, he fell on his erect penis.

Poor Moose was done for, and the mare was left unsatisfied. When we let them loose, she was chasing Moose across the field, spraddle-legged and with her tail in the air. Hussy. We ended up putting Moose in the barn, just to give him a break.

After about an hour, Mom and I went out to try to help them again. This time we had an idea. Rather than raising Moose, why not lower the mare? As stupid as it sounds, we dug a hole. It was about 16 inches long, 8 inches wide and 5 inches deep.

We put the mare's back legs in the hole.

Are you laughing yet?

I helped Moose get lined up, and he did his business. All was going good until he stepped into the hole in his excitement. Needless to say, down he went, whipping himself out of the mare.

And spraying me with , uh, Moose juice.

This time, though, I think he got the job done. The mare seemed satisfied, and Moose seemed drained.

No pun intended.

So, I guess we celebrated a different kind of Mom's Day.

My son did make me tear up. Sunday, Dad went into town to get a new lock for the gate at the bottom of the hill, and my son went with him. He only had $7.00 on him, from his allowance for the week, and it was not enough for the hanging and potted plants they had at the hardware store. After looking for a long time, he settled on buying me a packet of flower seeds so I could grow my own. It really made me tear up. I don't think he was encouraged to buy me anything by anybody. I think this was his own motivation, and that made it super-sweet.

Hope everybody had a great Mother's day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Highlights and Lowlights...

Finally, finally, finally, I'm done with the Census job. Yeah!!! Can not begin to tell you how happy I am. Well, actually I can. I'm very happy. Stupendously happy.
And wouldn't you know it, I had my craziest day yet today. Tried to get an address from an older woman , and she swore up and down it WAS NOT census time! There had been a lady stop by just a couple of years ago, she said, that had done it. And why hadn't she gotten paid for that one, yet? she wanted to know. Were they going to pay her for this one? And what exactly did a Federal Agent look like? I told her technically I was a Federal worker. She looked me up and down, and finally told me, "Well, I ain't never seen you on tv."
I finally told her I had to get going to a meeting, (which I did) and she waved me off. I think I was as confused as she was when I left.
The funniest incident I had was the drunk-at-ten-o'clock, one-eyed old man who told me I was the prettiest thing he had seen (kinda, I guess) in a long time, and did I have room in my car for him to go for a ride. I told him no, apologized and promised him maybe next time.
I'll have to tell hubby he has competition. ;p.
Then there were the sad cases. I went to a place yesterday that had several chained and loose dogs, all obviously hungry. One black puppy, about 6 months old, was curled up in a discarded recliner on the front porch. I thought it was just laying there, but when I offered it a treat, it couldn't hardly raise it's head to sniff it. I realized then it was desperately sick. Though it didn't eat the treat, it wagged it's tail for me twice, then put it's head down again. When I went back by about 2 hours later to talk to the owner about her address, the pup was dead in the chair.
Directly across the road was a large round pen with a pony inside. He was skin and bones, standing in muck, trying to find a single blade of grass in the mud. Outside the round pen, the grass was a foot tall, but he could not reach it.
Why do people bother to have animals if they can't take care of them?
Anyway, I'm glad to be out of the job.
And as a special surprise when I got home, I found out I won a free download from Mia Watts and the Ellora's Cave chat from last night. I downloaded Claimed by Darkness and read it in two hours flat.
It was deliciously yummy! You can read the blurb on her website here. Thanks Mia!
Anyway, I'm going to work on my current wip for a little while, and head to bed. Have a good night everyone.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Derby Afterglow... Mine Who???

So how many of you watched the Derby? If you're a Kentuckian, I shouldn't have to ask this question.
For those of you that did not watch the Derby, Shame on you. It was FABULOUS!! It was gutwrenching, unexpected and so completely thrilling. It was a perfect example of the underdog coming out on top.
Mine That Bird was a relative unknown from New Mexico, of all places. No great record, no great pedigree, no great trainer. Just an average thouroughbred. The only thing he did have going for him was an awesome jockey, Calvin Burel. It's so refreshing to see Calvin when he wins, because his emotion is out there for all to see. He cried because his mom and dad couldn't see him. How sad. Even I teared up.
Although he cried the day before too, at the Oaks.
It's been a busy weekend for Calvin.
Friday was Kentucky Oaks day, for the girls. Calvin was on Rachel Alexandra, and he absolutely DOMINATED to field. You can watch it here. He was second at the start and held his position all the way around the track, until the final turn, when he let the filly have a bit of rein. She took off! He was not pushing her though, just riding along. If you look at the clips, it even looks as though he may be pulling her back a bit.
The filly won by 20 1/4 lengths, and she wasn't even running hard. Her time was 1:48.87, just .23 off the track record.
I wonder what she would have done if Calvin had actually pushed her a bit?
I wonder what she would have done in the Derby?
It was an amazing weekend for Calvin Burel.
I wish him congratulations!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

So, Just A Quick Update...

I'm back up to 20 chicks now, and all are flourishing. They eggs are not hatching as fast now, so I think they did get too cool the other day.

Hubby came home yesterday and brought a new dog. Kind of. There's been a puppy, 5 or 6 months old, hanging around down at the end of the driveway for the past 3 days. She hadn't figured out to come down the driveway to the house. Which was good. With the 3 dogs we have now, it's a good group. I think a 4th would upset the status quo, and we may regret keeping her. It's obvious she's had the crap beat out of her though, and I do feel bad for her. She was absolutely starving, and I do admit I took her some canned food down when she was at the gate. But I didn't bring her home. Hubby did. Now we have to decide what to do with her.

Honestly, I guess it is my fault because I didn't tell him about her, and he always brings me home the strays he finds.

Think I'm going to plant part of my garden today. If it's not too muddy from all the rain we've been getting.

And , Of course, I've already told hubby I need several hours of me time for the Derby later. Gotta watch the Derby. Even before I moved to Ky I was a fanatic. I have old notebooks with notes in them from Jr High. I would write down all the horse names, trainer names, jockey names, anything interesting about them, and the order they all finished in. I remember specifically when Winning Colors won, in 1988. I think I was about 14 at the time, and I was fascinated by the big filly. I was so proud of her, just for being a female and winning against all the boys.
How sexist is that?
Have a good weekend.