Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Unofficial Thursday Thirteen -- Hannah Montana Edition

So I'm starting NaNoWriMo today, plus it's end-of-the-month reports for the day job, so I just can't find the time to work up an official TT this week, with a header and links to the main blog and all. But I do have 13 things to share about the Hannah Montana concert anyway, so here they are...

1. 10,000-plus elementary age girls shrieking in unison is enough to make your ears bleed.

2. 10,000-plus elementary age girls shriek at *anything*.

  • The curtain moved! AAAAAAAH!

  • Look! It's a roadie! EEEEEEEEK!

  • Wow! There's an HP commercial on the big screen! WOOOOOOO!

3. Fire prevention week works. My middle child was terrified that the pyrotechnic show was going to burn the arena down.

4. The Jonas Brothers are cute, in a jail-bait, way too young for me sort of way.

5. I actually know more Jonas Brothers songs than I thought I did.

6. Those same shrieking elementary age girls actually sound pretty good singing along with Hannah Montana.

7. Glowsticks have replaced lighters, though lit-up cell phone screens are a close second.

8. I read a review that said the equal time given Miley Cyrus's songs was like going to a concert given by a classic rock band that refuses to play any of their old hits. I'd agree--though the songs were all fun and well-done, the audience was far less familiar with them and there wasn't as much enthusiasm for them. Plus, so many Hannah hits were left off the playlist, I'm sure some fans were disappointed.

9. Okay, yes, I admit it. I wanted to hear If We Were A Movie. Sue me.

10. In case anyone is wondering, I bought the tickets for face value. I love my kids, but not enough to pay a scalper the exorbitant rates asked for this show.

11. The girl can sing. And dance. And change clothes. (A costume change every two songs! I'm a little jealous.)

12. I would never have gone to see the show if I hadn't had children to take. But I'm really glad I went -- it was lots of fun, and a real joy to see my kids having such a good time.

13. I'm especially glad I got to be part of my kids' first concert experience. And this was a perfect first show.

So that's it for concerts for me until December. And how opposite end of the spectrum can you get in six days -- Neil Young to Hannah Montana? :)

My first concert was fifteen minutes of a Belinda Carlisle show at Bumbershoot during a lunch break (I sold ice cream at Bumbershoot and FolkLife for years). How about you? What was your first show?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Book BIN Tuesday -- Warning! Fangrrrl Moment!

Another week, another Tuesday, another Book BIN recommendation!

It's an easy one this week.


Really, need I say more? But just in case that's not enough to tempt you to pick up a copy of Suz Brockmann's holiday "novella" ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT (I use quotes because it's longer than most of her category books!), how about this?

Every penny of Suz's earnings -- advance, royalties, foreign rights, audio royalties, subrights -- is being donated to MassEquality. Every penny.

Plus, because it's by Suz, it's sure to be a ripping good read. So do yourself a favor and run down to the nearest bookstore -- and Buy It Now.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Meet Me Next Week!

For those of you in the Seattle area, I'll be signing at the Southcenter Waldenbooks next Saturday from 6-8 pm. Lauren Dane, Stacia Wolf and I will be signing Samhain titles -- and since Stacia and I both have stories in the PERFECT GIFT anthology, you can get two autographs for the price of one! :)

Stop by and say hello -- if you tell me you heard about the signing on my blog, you'll get a special reader's gift!

270 Southcenter Shopping Center
Seattle, WA 98188
Phone: 206.248.0886

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #32 -- Neil Young Edition

(header graphic courtesy Write From Karen)

So I went to the Neil Young concert this week. Here are thirteen random thoughts about the event:

1. The venue seated at most 7000 people. I liked it better than being in a huge arena in the nosebleeds.
2. It was definitely the anti-arena show. Odd, industrial-looking set that seemed cobbled together of random pieces of machinery and letter shapes, no fireworks or special effects, just Neil and his music.
3. Of the entire opening set, performed by Pegi Young, my favorite song was the second performed.
4. At the end of the song, she announced that it was the one that WASN'T on her album.
5. I really like Like A Hurricane.
6. The concert was performed in two sets -- acoustic and electric. Nice way to highlight both sides of Neil.
7. It may seem counterintuitive, but I actually felt more sleepy during the rock-out electric set.
8. Am I getting old? I can stay up til all hours on the computer, but put me in a dark concert hall with music being played, and I'm ready for a nap.
9. Loved Cinnamon Girl.
10. Wished he'd played my all time favorite, The Needle and The Damage Done.
11. Absent that, my favorite of the night was probably From Hank to Hendrix.
12. At the end of the second set, random letters of the backdrop lit up. Spelled out? Neil. :)
13. My next concert experience will be VERY different. Tune in next week for details.

Oh, and if you TT'ed at my blog last week, be sure to scroll down to the previous post. You may already be a winner! :)

And the Winners Are...

Yes, I know, it took me long enough, but I'm finally able to announce the winners of my Birthday Week Celebration!

Congratulations to the following winners, one chosen from each birthday post:

Download of Lessons In Love
Quilted drawstring bag with a sweet treat inside
Signed copy of Tease Me, Please Me
Please contact me off-blog at kate AT kate-davies DOT com so I can get those prizes to you! And thanks to everyone for posting during my birthday week. I had a great time, and hope you did too!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Book BIN Tuesday -- The Best Man

So the crossing guard at my middle child's school is a big-time romance fan. It's not unusual for her to hand me a grocery sack full of paperbacks as I walk across the street in the morning. (Or vice-versa.) Then we spend five minutes discussing recent reads and reality TV while my youngest stomps in puddles and announces that hot chocolate would be a nice snack.

Hint, hint.

So a few weeks ago she passed along a bunch of older paperbacks, saying that some were hit and miss. But she was really excited about one of them. "It's the historical about the cattle drive. I think you'll love it!"

Of course, she was right. The Best Man by Maggie Osborne is a ripping great read, with characters that absolutely inhabit the page and a breathtaking race against all odds. It may be a little hard to find, especially since you probably don't have a book-pushing crossing guard to give it to you, but I heartily recommend that you track it down and Buy It Now!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Why I Went to the Health Club Today....

...even though I wasn't feeling 100%:

My middle child decided to write a play about Christopher Columbus. I was even offered a part. My choice --

(a) The Santa Maria
(b) Land.

Prizes announced tomorrow. Stay Tuned! :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Argh! And Last Chance to Enter My Birthday Contest

So I've been struggling with Comcast this week, because their $(%&^ site update has completely messed up my website. I've been trying to post updates, but Comcast won't let me. And half the time, when I try to visit my site to see if the updates are there, I get this screen:

So I'm more than a little frustrated. They'd better get things straightened out soon, or I'm really going to lose it. (h/t to Angie for the link to the article!)

On a happier note, you've got until midnight tonight to post a comment on my blog (any post from this week) in order to be in the running for a prize. And to get the conversation going, here's a question for you:

What's the worst customer service experience you've had?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #31 -- Birthday Edition!

(header courtesy of Write From Karen)

Thirteen presents I got for my birthday (which was yesterday!)

1. Slippers

2. A bottle of Gewurztraminer

3. Three great-smelling hand soaps

4. A white shirt and brown trouser outfit

5. A green, sparkly, already-sharpened pencil

6. The last piece of watermelon bubble gum

7. Two print blouses

8. My youngest's favorite Wiggles video ("you can watch it whenever you want!")

9. Khaki dress slacks

10. Dinner from Arby's so I didn't have to cook

11. A "book bag" made out of printer paper and transparent tape

12. A dozen cut-out hearts artistically draped over the living room chair

13. A ton of hugs and kisses!

Yes, I was spoiled -- and loved every minute of it! And to keep the fun going, I'm holding a blog contest through Friday at midnight. Anyone who posts between now and then is in the drawing for a prize! So be sure to drop by this weekend to see if you've won!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Celebration Time!

Break out the confetti and cake -- it's my birthday!

And to celebrate, *I'm* giving away the pressies. :) From now until Friday at midnight Pacific time, everyone who posts on my blog will be put in a drawing for a prize. Maybe more than one!

So post away. You could be a winner!

Today's topic: Presents! What's the best present you ever received? (Or, conversely, what's the best present you ever gave?)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Book BIN Tuesday -- Along for the Ride

Mmmm -- Michelle Pillow. Love her stuff! And especially love the sound of her newest release, out today from Virgin Books. Here's a peek at Along for the Ride:

Detective Megan Matthews is cursed with always being right. Her instincts are good, her deductive reasoning even better. She’s found her hard-headed ways to be too much for most men, so she’s given up on trying to find Mr Right and has settled for arresting Mr Wrong.

Photographer, Ryan Andrews, has had a crush on the sexy detective since he first took her photograph by accident at a crime scene. That picture became headline news and she hasn’t talked to him since. He’s tried everything to get her attention, even enlisted the help of her sister. Nothing works. When opportunity presents itself, he’s left with little choice. But is blackmailing a cop into marriage really a good idea?

Doesn't that sound just yummy? And the cover jumps out and grabs you. I can't wait to pick up a copy. And if you're anything like me, you're ready to head right out and Buy It Now!

Cover Love...

Yay! They just posted the new covers over at Samhain's coming soon pages, so I can share my latest cover with you.

It's the e-book cover for Home for Christmas, my novella in Samhain's Christmas anthology The Perfect Gift. Isn't it lovely? :)
I got it a while back and waiting to share it with y'all has been KILLING me. So life is good!

Kate, very happy now...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Kate and Lucy's Excellent Adventure

Okay, I admit it. I was planning to include pictures with this blog post, but

(a) we wanted to maintain some of our mystique


(b) I forgot my camera.

You pick. :)

So this morning I bundled up the kidlets and headed on down the freeway to Lucy's place, ready for a day of fun. (Or, as my youngest called it, "our playdate". LOL!) Traffic was moving along at a great clip until I hit the bridge into town, when a wreck several miles further down the road clogged up EVERYTHING. Several hours later (okay, not really, but it sure felt like it!), we arrived.

Lucy was a fabulous hostess, as usual, and we spent the day bopping around town, children (hers and mine) in tow. First lunch, then a detour to pick up spouse with broken car, then to Target (shopping! yay!), then back to the house for a dip in the hot tub and a chat (tough with kids demanding attention, but we managed), then a snack, then I hit the road for the long drive home. Made longer by a wreck several miles down the road. Sigh.

I had a great time, and came away with these basic truths:

(a) Lucy is an all-around wonderful person.
(b) So are all her kids, and her DH.
(c) She lives too far away.
(d) Always bring more than two DVDs for the car ride.

Tomorrow's soccer, then family get-together. Here's wishing everyone a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #30 -- October Edition!

Thirteen reasons I love October...

1. Cold, crisp, fall days.

2. Chili in the crock pot and fresh bread from the bread machine.

3. Halloween candy.

4. Not so much weeding.

5. Hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps.

6. Hot chocolate without peppermint schnapps.

7. My birthday!

8. End of soccer season (which I love, but I'm ready for it to be done for the year).

9. Reading a book on the couch on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

10. Halloween costumes. (I don't get to wear them anymore, but it's way fun helping the kiddos pick them out!)

11. Did I mention Halloween candy?

12. Holiday decorating. (Just for Halloween/harvest time. I won't pull out the Christmas decor until the day after Thanksgiving, thankyouverymuch.)
13. Trick or treating with the kids!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Book BIN Tuesday -- The Dark Is Rising

When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back;

Three from the circle, three from the track;

Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;

Five will return, and one go alone.

I've been a fan of The Dark Is Rising since seventh grade, when a school librarian recommended the sequence. I still remember the shelf it was on in my Junior High library -- bottom left of the far right side of the library, next to the study tables. Maybe because I checked each of the five books out so frequently. :)

I loved them -- the Arthurian mythos, the English/Welsh countryside, the not-always-obvious battle for the soul of the world. For a long time, I read The Dark Is Rising every year at the winter solstice. It was a perfect beginning to the season.

So I was thrilled when I saw the new edition at the local Borders -- Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture! I ran home and looked it up on IMDB, clicking excitedly on the trailer.

By the end of the 45-second ad, I was crushed. They'd taken everything wonderful and magical and amazing about the book and stripped it away. They'd turned a shy, eleven year old English boy with a large but loving family into a typical, thirteen year old transplanted American with a family that treated him poorly. They dumped the Arthurian backstory. They cut the Walker, for heaven's sake!
Not only that, but interviews showed that the people involved in making the film either hadn't bothered to read the book, or they read it and hated it. The screenwriter doesn't like fantasy. The director thought he could trim out pretty much everything and keep the "spine" of the story. The actors mentioned how "dense" and "boring" the book was. The author, Susan Cooper, was interviewed on NPR , and came across as quietly devastated at what had been done to her book.
So the movie came out last Friday, now renamed The Seeker (formerly The Seeker: The Dark is Rising), and it -- tanked. Horribly. It was the worst opening for a fantasy movie EVER. Part of me is glad, because I hate to see books treated so abominably and the efforts rewarded. But I'm worried that a new generation of readers will avoid the books now that the movie associated with it is such a bomb. Even many of the reviews seem to blame the author or the book for the travesty that is the movie.
So please, take my advice. Save your movie ticket money and buy the book instead. You'll be so, so glad you did. (And so will I.) :D

Monday, Monday...

So I'm looking at my calendar for the week and wondering when the #(%& I'm actually going to sleep. I've got three soccer games, two evening meetings that I'm chairing so there's all that prep work involved in that, an article due for the local family magazine, a guest editorial to write for the local paper on a levy issue, the day job, a mom's group meeting, eldest child's piano lesson, plus at least three workouts at the local health club for the wellness challenge. (Sadly, I'm not taking strip aerobics a la Dani in Challenging Carter; I can't imagine the class would fly in this town. ) And working on my new book, which has a looming deadline.

On the positive side, there's no school on Friday, so the kids and I are heading down the freeway to visit one of my favorite people in the whole world, Lucy Monroe. So there's something great to look forward to at the end of my hectic week.

So what's your plan for the week? Anything exciting to share?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Blogging On Glomming...

Hey all!

I'm over at the Samhain blog today with a post about the joys and pains of glomming. Hope you can drop by and put in your two cents worth!


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #29 -- Banned Books Week Edition

In keeping with the theme of the week -- banned and challenged books -- I'm listing thirteen frequently-challenged books that I loved.

And don't forget my contest! Comment in the post right below this one, and you could win a free download of my latest book, Lessons In Love.

2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

3. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

4. The Giver by Lois Lowry

5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

6. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

7. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan

8. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

9. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

10. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

11. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher

12. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney

13. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Wow! Let me tell you, it was hard to narrow that list down. How about you? Check out the ALA list of most challenged books of 1990-2000 and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Banned Books Week -- and a contest!

Happy Banned Books Week!

Yes, it's that time of year again, when the American Library Association brings our attention to the issue of challenged and banned books.

As a writer and former English teacher, I have some very strong opinions about the practice of banning books. I'll let you guess what they are. :)

Anyway, I was noodling around on the ALA website and came upon the top 100 challenged books list, and was shocked once again to see so many author names I recognized. JK Rowling! Lois Lowry! Chris Crutcher! Caroline Cooney! Judy Blume!

Maya Angelou.

Toni Morrison.

Mark Twain.

Isabel Allende.

Kurt Vonnegut.

It pains me to think how bare the shelves would be without those voices. How slim my childhood reading list would have been without many of the books on that list.

So here's my contest. Just post in the comments what your favorite banned book is. One random poster will win a download of my newest book, Lessons In Love.

And for more Banned Books discussion, stop by the Samhain Cafe now through Friday. A bunch of Samhain authors will be talking banned books, sharing excerpts of their own work, and giving away prizes.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Book BIN Tuesday -- Damn You, Suz Brockmann!

Look, I was trying to be nice about it. But I can't hold it in much longer.

You're messing with my schedule, woman!

See, I have deadlines. Manuscripts that need to be written. Contracts, for heaven's sake!

I don't have *time* to glom on your books right now.

But noooo. You had to write Force of Nature, didn't you? And have it published, right in the middle of one of the busiest times of my life!

And oh, dear Lord, you had to put Jules in it, didn't you? :: whimper ::

I held out for as long as I could. I got final edits done, and a round of promo for the new releases, and the new school year started. But I began running into spoilers, and I knew I couldn't wait any longer.
So I read it. In one day. And then, as soon as I finished it, I turned back to page one and started over again.

Then, after reading it twice, I had to go grab Hot Target off the shelf and read that one again, too.

So I'm giving my readers fair warning. Force of Nature is dangerous to your schedule.

But I still think you should go Buy It Now.