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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Saturday, November 28

Happy Birthday

It’s a cool, gloomy day in Sun City West, looking like it might rain, but this is the Valley of the Sun and we just don’t get much rain here. I like to think of the rare occasions when we get about twenty drops on our back patio roof as Arizona thunder storms. So, it’s a cool, gloomy day in Sun City West. And it’s my birthday. I won’t say how many years this makes, but it’s a bunch. I went to work this morning and could hardly wait to get out of there. Not that it was busy, just that I didn’t want to be there for any length of time. Not that I had anything important to do.

I’m working my way through a novel, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, and don’t quite know what to make of it. I think it must be great, at least the style. The jury is still out about the plot. The narrator, an ex-resident of Windy Gap, Missouri, has reluctantly returned to her home town to cover a story for her Chicago paper, a story about the killing of two young girls, both found at separate times, strangled, all their teeth removed. The narrator is revealed slowly. She’s in her early thirties, beautiful but very flawed from her strange relationship with Adora, her mother. Camille, the narrator, is a cutter and a borderline alcoholic. In her late teens, after the tragic death of a younger sister, she becomes obsessed with cutting strange words into her flesh. Not into her face or hands or feet, just everywhere else, hiding the scarring with high-necked blouses and full skirts and jeans. It’s a classic example of Southern Gothic, with all the typical gothic characters. Stephen King has this to say about it: “To say this is a terrific debut novel is really too mild. I haven’t read such a relentlessly creepy family saga since John Farris’s All Heads Turn as the Hunt Goes By, and that was thirty years ago, give or take. Sharp Objects isn’t one of those scare-and-retreat books; its effect is cumulative. I found myself dreading the last thirty pages or so but was helpless to stop turning them. Then, after the lights were out, the story just stayed there in my head, coiled and hissing, like a snake in a cave. An admirably nasty piece of work, elevated by sharp writing and sharper insights.” I read an article about the author in which she said she never met a simile she didn’t like. And she can cut a simile with the best of them: “When we got home, she’d (Adora) trail off to her room like an unfinished sentence.” “I have one memory that catches in me like a nasty clump of blood.” “I drank more vodka. There was nothing I wanted to do more than be unconscious again, wrapped in black, gone away. I was raw. I felt swollen with potential tears, like a water balloon filled to burst. Begging for a pin prick. Wind Gap was unhealthy for me. This home was unhealthy for me.” I can’t wait to get to those last thirty grim pages.

I got this card from sister-in-law Kaye. She said she couldn't find the source of this quote, so I looked it up on-line. Lots of references but no one claiming authorship. But it's too cute to pass up.


And while I'm in a comic mood, here's a couple of literary one-liners: "A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion." "A backward poet writes inverse."

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