A Calendar of Tales by Neil Gaiman - this is the collection of short stories he wrote following the Twitter question fest, and now there's a call out for art inspired by the stories - submit your photographs, drawings, paintings, sculptures, what have you.
I might try to take a couple of photographs, since I can't seem to find any already taken that are good enough. Not even of ducks!
Oh yes the review - I love these short stories. Not only are they compact and full of wonder (thus giving me a serious case of insecure writer), they also spark ideas. I probably won't enter the art contest in the end, but I do hope to try writing my own stories - either based on the prompts Neil chose, or on different ones entirely (there are hundreds to choose from!).
Jenny sent me a copy of Teresa Reasor's Highland Moonlight, and Timeless the other day - so much fun to receive an unexpected Highland romance! Thanks to Teresa for these fun reads.
Speaking of Scotland and gifts, I've gotten three more! Gifts, that is.
Ages ago, Penguin hosted a survey; I don't even remember what the theme was, but if you completed it, you were allowed to choose one book from a list. Mine came last week - The Forest Laird by Jack Whyte, the the first book in his Guardians series:
Last week I also read When Summer Comes by Brenda Novak, the latest book in her Whiskey Creek series. I picked it up at random, actually when I was at the post office inside the drugstore, and they had one of those spin-y book racks; who can resist a book rack?
Then suddenly last week in my email there was an update from Novak, with a mini-contest: answer ten questions about When Summer Comes, and you can win a t-shirt! Not just any shirt but an Amos Bros Auto Body shirt, the Amos Brothers being one of the families in Whiskey Creek featured in the stories. Fun!
The best gift was Linda Grimes' Valentines' Contest. I won some yummy Lindt chocolate (sorry, all gone!), and an ARC of her book In a Fix.
Such a good book! I'd say it's in the vein of the Stephanie Plum books, but that'll give you the wrong idea. Wait, here's the blurb:
"Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she's able to take on her clients' appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don't want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.
This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable... that is, until Ciel's island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client's about-to-be-fiancé is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated. Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she's been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client's intended.
Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems."
On the other hand, I can't wait to read the sequel to In a Fix, and if Ciel has any doubts about her choice, I'd urge her to explore all her options. Both the men in her life - even the Swedish agent she's temporarily linked with - are extremely attractive. I loved understanding the snippets of Swedish. Oh yes, the story's exciting too!
One last book review - I can't link to this book, and you won't be able to read it. No, I'm not being difficult; the book has a print run of two, and my sister and I have the only copies!
My mother's the author; it's called "My Family's Voyages". I mention it mainly because I think my mother had a brilliant idea - she put together a book of various trips taken by us and other family members over the years, including her first trip on an airplane, in the 1950s, my father's trip to Paris from Istanbul by train, also in the 50s, and my grandparents' sea voyage from New York to France in the 1960s.
Each trip is written in story fashion, and complemented by photos and copies of the tickets and passenger lists (for the boat, anyway). One of my favourites is my grandmother's aunt's trip on foot from her village to the village of her parents', in the middle of nowhere in Northern Turkey. This was in the 1920s or thereabouts, and she was pregnant at the time, and also had her two-year-old daughter with her. I wish I could go back in time and hover over the woods where she walked for hours and hours. It must have been so peaceful! Or were there dangers? Did she carry a knife, I wonder?
Meanwhile, if you're a fan of the Vine Leaves journal, take a look at this amazing contest:
All you have to do to enter is submit a poem or short piece of no more than 800 words. I wonder if I've got anything short enough?
For other fun stuff, take a look at these two sites: Random Acts of Reading have another instalment of Books in the Wild, this one featuring cats! I loved the desk cat:
I've got my own bookworms at home, and tweeted about them the other day:
By the way, Barbara Rogan is designing a Republic for Authors! So far the consensus is that our national currency will be chocolate. I suggested that we have an endless library, with guest speakers. I'm looking forward to visits from Gaiman and King and...
I also voted for a Banish Self Doubt Festival, to be held every time one of us is feeling low. I'd like to move there as soon as this round of ROW80 is over - or even before that! I'm hoping to be finished edits on Druid's Moon this week. Wish me luck! No, not luck, but willpower and dedication.
What would you suggest for our Writers' Republic? And have you won some fun stuff lately?