Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Library for the New World

So NASA found a planet like Earth last month or whenever.

Yes, yes, yes! That means more closet space, more Starbucks and a new location to Facebook about. 'Rachel checked in at the AMC Theater on the south side of Kepler 22-B." Hopefully, Groupon will offer this as a Getaway Deal cuz my bags, they are PACKED!

Isn't she pretty?

But what will I read when I get there? Kepler-22B may not have WiFi capability so my Kindle will be useless since I read all the books loaded onto it once I awakened from hyper-sleep and had to read during the rest of the journey over. So: old-school books -- we have to send a capsule full of them for the first public library in New Los Angeles, Kepler-22B (Okay, and we'll have to have a write-in contest maybe sponsored by our new overlords to change that name. Sounds like something I should pour into my camshafts).

What should we stock?

Here are my ten picks:

1. The Bible (of course, cuz we need rules and poetry and stories about sex, redemption and salvation in this new world)
2. The Joy of Sex (I'm sure we'll lose a few space travelers so we'll need to repopulate) by Alex Comfort
3. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
4. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
5. The Odyssey by Homer
6. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
7. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
8. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
9. Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes
10. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

What other books should we stock?

To Ill or Not to Ill...

So there's this awesome back-and-forth going on between the New York Times crossword editor and this freelance writer about the true definition of 'illin'.

From: Julieanne Smolinski
Date: Sat, Jan 7, 2012 at 5:05 PM
Subject: Crossword Puzzle Correction
To: nytnews@nytimes.com

Dear New York Times,

The clue for 28 down reads "Wack, in hip-hop," and the answer provided is "ILLIN." These are not the same things, at all!


Julieanne Smolinski,
Not Even a Hip-Hop Expert

Click on over to Gawker for the magila!

And Now, I'll Have to Kill You...

Writers have secrets. Oh yes, we do. We're just like the Masons and the Illuminati but in more comfortable shoes and moleskins in our back pockets.

Wanna know a few?


Here's this great list I stumbled upon from a blog called Aliventures:

Secret #1: Writing is Hard

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. (Gene Fowler)

There’s a myth – not just in the writing world – that if you’re good at something, it’ll be easy. And established writers, me included, do have writing sessions where the words flow smoothly.

Read the rest here.

One secret of mine that didn't make the list: Writers have an obsession with writing supplies.

I'm a pen snob. And pad snob. Don't just throw me a Bic or a regular #2 pencil. I need Uniball Fine or Micro and those blue art pencils, Staedtler Mars Lumograph Lead H. I would enjoy a gift card to Office Depot rather than a card from Best Buy. New pens! Fresh legal pads. Notebooks of every size! I'm swooning now as I write.

Another secret: We're watching you.
Yeah, you. You, too. Where the hell do you think we get that character who picks their teeth with a matchbook cover and then eats whatever he finds? Or the character who wears some type of sequined article of clothing every day? Or the character with the verbal tick, the one who says, 'Right, right' as you talk? YOU that's who. A writer who says that you're not a part of the story is a writer who lies and whose writing probably sucks. (Or not.)

So you writers out there. What secrets do you have?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Free Tomorrow, Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah, It's Your Birthday

Just a head's up, my reading friends. The View from Here goes free all day tomorrow on Amazon, January 28!!

I'm excited about the free thing. Does it show??

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bargain eBook Hunter

The View from Here is the Book of the Day for this great site! Bargain eBook Hunter features incredible reads at low, low prices! Please go on over and make yourselves comfortable.

Kindle Fire Department: The View from Here: Book of the Day

Kindle Fire Department: The View from Here: Book of the Day: We've got a great book of the day lined up for you in Rachel Howzell's The View from Here. Highly rated and highly gripping, this look at t...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Writing Life with Deatri King-Bey

I love the Internet. Sometimes. And I love Facebook. Sometimes. You meet a lot of awesome people on-line, and a lot of great writers.

I met writer Deatri King-Bey earlier this month and we thought we'd share each others writing life on our blogs.

Dee had great questions and I'd like to share my interview with you!

Here's one question:

When did you begin writing?
I was a shy child and didn’t really share with anyone how I felt about things and kept all my angst and worry to myself. And then, my GAT (Gifted and Talented) teacher Ms. Anderson bought me a fabric-covered journal when I was in third grade. And that was that. I haven’t stopped writing since. My first story was called “Blue Monday” and I still have it! I was telling dark, sad stories even as a third-grader.

Please click on over to Dee's site and read the rest. Then, tour the rest of her site and check out her books! (I'm being bossy, aren't I? Telling you to do this and to do that? Can't help it -- I'm a wife and mother.) So, yes, her books, please check them out. She's also part of the writing team L.L. Reaper.

Thanks for inviting me over, Dee!

What I Saw...

On Saturday, January 14 around noon, two signs during my bike ride (yes, I bought a bike, no, I hadn't been bike riding in 11 years, yes, my ass hurt like it had been stomped by trolls, no, I couldn't even relax on the couch later cuz my heart was beating so fast, yes, I'll do it again and no, not this weekend because it's too... too... bright?) from Playa del Rey to El Segundo with my daughter and husband.

So, yeah, it says Tsunami Hazard Zone. My seven-year old freaks out whenever we see these signs around Marina del Rey. And while we kind of talk her off the ledge, we know that anything's possible even tsunamis. And I like the No Stopping sign beneath it. Don't dilly-dally cuz a wave's a'comin'!

The next sign technically wasn't at the beach. It was afterwards, when we drove to Honeybaked Ham, the one by Big Lots and Winchell's in Culver City.

Okay, so the big sign isn't what made me take the picture. It's the sign that borders the top of the building.

It says Secret Pole Dance Studio.


What the heck does that mean?

I'd never noticed it until now, with my heart beating so fast.

So, I went to the Googles and lo! The Secret Pole Dance Studio is a Thing!

OH. EM. Awesome. Sounds like a field trip for me and my girls!

But then, will I get pole burn? Guess that will re-direct the pain from bike-butt-blues.

My take-away from The Secret Pole Dance Studio? They need a better sign. And maybe not next to the doughnut shop. I had to pretend not to hear my second-grader ask what is a pole and what do you do on it? That's a fourth grade question answered during that special assembly and you giggle and blush throughout the entire thirty minutes.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

From One Geek to Another

Ever wonder what a male swan is called?

Yeah, me neither.

Ever wonder why a writer writes what she writes?

All the time.

Wonder why I write what I write? What inspires me? Then, please pop over to Girls Gone Geeky to read my Guest Post.

All things inspire me – really, they do. Both the crime sections and the fluffy stories in the newspaper inspire me. I read everything. I’m such a book slut. Right now, I have in my nightstand stacks and Kindle a variety of things: a mystery by James Patterson, a book about e. coli bacteria, a true crime book about a murdered mother, and a book about an American family in Nazi Germany.

There's more! Oh, yes there is more. So please click on over. And if you're a Geek Girl like me, then you're OBLIGATED to check out this awesome site filled with geek things and book reviews and so on.

And a male swan is called a 'cob.'

The more you know, indeed.

Don't Tread on Me!

We don't want no stinkin' SOPA (Stop On-line Piracy Act).

From the ACLU (my old bosses) website:

The bill is aimed at taking down sites that allow Internet users to acquire pirated versions of original artistic content online. At a recent hearing, the ACLU expressed opposition to the bill because it would allow for the takedown of non-infringing content along with infringing content, in violation of the First Amendment.

As a writer, can't have NOBODY messing 'round with my First Amendment rights (that's freedom of expression for those needing a rights refresher).

To find out what you can do to stop SOPA -- other than supporting the WIKI black-out, please visit here. And if you have some 'thing' against the ACLU, then go here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kindle Fire Department: Gigantic Blast: Today's Free App, Plus BOTD: No On...

Kindle Fire Department, one of the most helpful sites ever for the Kindle Fire -- and some of the nicest, most helpful people I've ever met -- are featuring No One Knows You're Here along with its Free App of the Day:

Kindle Fire Department: Gigantic Blast: Today's Free App, Plus BOTD: No On...: Today's highly acclaimed book of the day comes to us from thriller author Rachel Howzell , who has been mentioned in O Magazine and Publishe...

This site is a MUST if you have a Fire. And there's a Facebook page, too, and any questions you have about the device? They answer them.

Really. Kindle Fire Department is awesome.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What I Saw...

on December 20, 2011, at almost four in the afternoon, at the intersection of Bixel and that street whose name I can never remember but it runs east-west and you can hop onto the 110 South there. I sat at the red light in my car.

That's when my former co-worker Hal walked past me.

I sat up in my seat and said, "That's Hal."

But I didn't blow my horn and call out his name. Just wondered why he was walking in this part of town since I had heard he was working over on Sunset now.

Did he hear the crazy homeless man who panhandled at this light shouting at him?

He looked the same as he had when I saw him last, back in 2007. Thin. Too thin. Same style khakis. Same haircut. Hal.

If I blew my horn, would he remember me?

I look the same as I had back then, too. There is that single strand of gray hair in my bangs that wasn't there then...

Was I memorable enough?

Maybe. Maybe not.

And if he didn't recognize me, then that would be awkward.

And so I didn't blow my horn. Just watched him walk east until the light turned green and I drove past that street whose name I can never remember and into the crowd of car.

I think about Hal at least twice at week. The iris bulbs he gave me to plant almost ten years ago are always blooming.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Little of This... A Little of That

Wanna read a sample of No One Knows You're Here and from other talented writers? Then, check out Jake Bible's site Sample Saturday! So many words, so many stories...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What I Saw...

on December 31, 2011, a little past two in the afternoon, on the corner of Bixel Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard as I waited in my car for the light to change from red to green, a man lay dead, his arms out like that and his legs twisted like an out-of-work mannequin. I couldn't see his face, just the back of his head and black hair. A small crowd had formed around him, not too close. The dead man wore a red plaid shirt, black pants and black, raggedy sneakers -- not the dress of someone working in a highrise, at a desk, or working at all.

I heard sirens coming from the west as I waited in my car at the light that knew not to change.

The sirens got closer and a black woman in braids and a postal worker's uniform stepped away from the huddle surrounding the dead man. She held out her arm, hailing the ambulance.

The red rig turned left and stopped at the curb.

Like Lazarus, the dead man came back to life. He was a white man -- I had not known that until he lifted and then, slightly turned his head. That side of his face, that side that had lain on the asphalt, resembled hamburger meat and the blood was almost too bloody to be believable in a city of Make Believe.

The EMT climbed out of the rig, in no hurry, la-la-la-la-la. His partner had already pulled out a slick red back-board from the cabin. Red rig, red board, red light, blood. So much red. Both paramedics looked too young to rescue anyone and that back-board resembled a sled named Rosebud.

The light turned green.

With great reluctance, I crossed Wilshire Boulevard.

I found my phone and called David.

He didn't answer.

I broke the cell-phone law and phone to ear, left him a rambling message about the dead-not-dead man just laying there, in the middle of the afternoon, can you believe it, call me back.

I ended the call and drove into the sun, onto the 110 Freeway, wondering...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Myst Noir

In my inter web-journeys to share NOKYH, I discovered Myst Noir, a site managed by the lovely Angela Henry, that features African-American mysteries! Yes, I know! I was THRILLED. After clicking around, I contacted Angela and she graciously agreed to include NOKYH on her site. So please check out Myst Noir -- it's a great site featuring great novelists and mysteries. And here's a link just for you:

Featured Title for January: No One Knows You're Here By Rachel Howzell