MJ’s Musings: Book Bingo-Single Word Title: BEACHCOMBER

One of the Book Bingo Squares this year was “Single Word Title.” I chose a Karen Robards romantic suspense I had not read before: BEACHCOMBER.

To be honest, I thought parts of this book were silly. Let’s see. There was a female attorney on the run from the mob and her ex-fiance (who turned out to be a mobster), an FBI agent posing as a beach bum, a serial killer, and a cranky stray cat. My favorite character was the cat.

I usually love Robards’ romantic suspense books–I own several–so I was surprised when this one didn’t do it for me.

Two stars.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Music-Something Rotten Sound Track

A couple of years ago, one of my crit partners saw the musical SOMETHING ROTTEN on Broadway. She immediately dashed out and purchased the CD of the sound track. On our next excursion into the woods, she shared the plot and the music with us.

We fell in love.  Several of us (myself included) also purchased the music. One of the songs, “It’s Hard to Be the Bard” has become our anthem. We listen to the sound track on every road trip we do together.

Last fall, a touring version of the show was in a nearby city. I dragged TV Stevie to see it. He enjoyed it. He didn’t love it the way I do,  but he enjoyed it, and even asked to listen to the sound track the next day.  I purchased a tote bag at the show.

I am my local RWA chapter’s Book-in-a-Week Babe this year, and I use the tote bag to hold the monthly prizes as I dole them out, while “It’s Hard to Be the Bard” blares from my phone.



MJ’s Musings: If Her Nora-ness Can Write…

I have been reading Nora Roberts’ Chronicles of the One and enjoying every word. Can’t wait for book three, The Rise of Magicks to come out in a couple of weeks.

Book one, Year One, reminded me of Stephen King’s The Stand on so many levels. Of course, every other reader of The Stand said the same thing. That doesn’t make the trilogy any less compelling. After all, there are only between six and 1,462 plots in the world (depending on who’s speaking). Everything else is a variation on a theme.  Story ideas, especially from the best, are going to overlap.

A couple of years ago, I had a disturbingly vivid dream. Upon waking I transcribed  the  dream as the opening scene of a novel and read it to my RWA chapter’s critique group later that morning.  One member said, “It sounds kind of like A Handmaid’s Tale.” I had heard of this book, but hadn’t read it. The series had not yet been shown on TV. It may have been in production at the time, but if so, I wasn’t aware of it.

I wrote the book in a couple of months. It’s a dystopian tale that went through several title changes before I settled on The Eleventh Sybil.  I thought the story was powerful. My critique group agreed. I started shopping the book to agents.

By this time, A Handmaid’s Tale was airing. Sales of the novel surged.  A sequel was in the works. I read Atwood’s book while I was writing mine. They are not the same story.

Yet one agent wrote back: “I’ve read this before.”

If I were Nora Roberts, submitting Year One, would the agent say the same thing?

Okay, I get it: she’s Nora,and I’m not. But that doesn’t mean my story doesn’t deserve a fair reading.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-What’s Cooking?

I’ve seen this movie only twice, but that doesn’t stop it from being my favorite Thanksgiving movie of all time.

It is the story of four ethnically different families preparing for  then participating in Thanksgiving dinner.  As one reviewer said, “There’s stress, there’s food, and there’s stressing over food.” The ensemble cast is wonderful.

My favorite part is the variety of textures. Textures in stories matter a lot to me, and this movie sets the tone for each of the cultures by using textures.

I’m truly surprised the movie isn’t better known.

MJ’s Musings: SEP-Lady Be Good

Lady Be Good is not one of my favorite SEP novels. I don’t particularly like Emma (the heroine) or Kenny (the hero). I’m not a fan of golf.  The plot is absurd.  A prim-and-proper British schoolmarm wants to create a scandal to avoid marriage to a stuffed shirt back home, while the disgraced golfer she’s decided to use as a boy toy is bent on changing his image so he can resume his career on the green. Good goals, good motivation, nice conflict. But for some reason the story doesn’t do it for me. Of course the novel is well-written, laugh-out-loud funny at times, but I don’t care enough about either of them to care if either one succeeds.

My favorite character is Kenny’s sister, Torie. She’s strong, she’s quirky, she has baggage. Her love interest, the geeky Dexter, is wonderfully sexy.  I wish more of the story focused on them.