I often use business cards as bookmarks, so when I picked up a book that I’d read several years ago, I wasn’t at all surprised to see one of my old business cards fall from it. Instead, I was reminded that I don’t HAVE business cards any more. And I really need some, if only to drop in the “free lunch” bucket at my favorite restaurant.

I’ve used online business card providers in the past, but while they were cheap, their design interfaces were clunky and their graphics limited. I was turned onto the logo design feature at LogoYes, however, and fell immediately in love. It’s so easy. You select the general type of logo you want – high tech, staid and stable, or creative – and they give you a bunch of graphics to choose from. You can then add a name or a company name, and change the color of the image you’ve chosen. From there, it’s easy to see what your logo would look like on stationery or business cards, because the design engine takes you right to a business card engine.

LogoYes’s site loads quickly, and it never feels awkward or confusing. Everything is arranged on a grid so you can see how it looks, and while the font choices are limited to the few that print best, there are enough options to suit almost anyone.

I’m thrilled that I’ve found LogoYes.
Maybe someday someone will use my card as a bookmark…in my book.

Glimmer Train

I spent $87 at Border’s today, and didn’t technically buy any books. I did by some literary anthologies, but since they were on the magazine rack, they don’t count. One of them Glimmer Train was recommended to me by my aunt as a place I should consider submitting short stories, but at the time she suggested it, I was in denial about having any talent.

I’ve since decided I have as much talent as anyone else, but I need to work on turning off the business part of my brain when I’m writing, and not turning it back on til the muse is satisfied.

As always, it all comes down to balance.

Anyway, I’d looked for this anthology at Barnes and Nobel, which I usually find is the place to get the best buy on books, because their rewards card is better than the one at Borders, and the copy there was mangled. One copy, mind you. Since I had occasion to be at Borders today, anyway, and they had more than one copy, life was good.

So, a lovely chat, a good collection of short stories, and projects galore, and I’m a happy woman.

For the moment, anyway.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

There had been a lot of hype about The Jane Austen Book Club and I knew it was supposed to take place “in a California river town” but it was pretty clearly referring to Sacramento. I spent many of my teen years in Modesto, Fresno, Stockton and Sacramento, so it was sort of like homecoming to read a novel set in those environs.

The book itself is the story of five women and one man who read and discuss each of Austen’s works. I have to confess that I never appreciated Austen when I was required to read it in high school, but I’m considering renewing my acquaintance with her on the basis of this book, which was a funny, sad, sweet, and very realistic portrayal of real women in many stages of life. As the lone man, Grigg served mostly as contrast.

This book is not one that requires home theater sconces and dramatic music, and is better read sitting on a sunny porch with a glass of iced tea.

The movie that was adapted from it happened to be next on my Blockbuster queue, so I watched the movie almost immediately after finishing the book, and I was not disappointed by either.

Good read.

Midway and Michael Knight

While neither of these shows was overtly about CAT6 cable, both had lengths of strewn around in many themes, which is why I’m connecting the Stargate Atlantis episode “Midway” with the Knight Rider movie that was on tonight. Well, that and my love of alliteration.

The first was a satisfying episode: snarky Teal’c, muscley Ronin, wraiths dying all over the place and a gratuitous scene in which Shepard stowed himself in a space suit. I don’t always focus on Stargate when I watch with Fuzzy, tuning out to read, or whatever, but staying in the room to keep him company, but “Midway” kept me interested.

“Knight Rider” on the other hand kept me laughing. Serious mockery was occurring in our living room, and can you blame us? We were wagering on and off all evening about whether or not Hasslehoff would have a cameo, and I complained a lot about the new Voice of KiTT. I’m sorry, but I miss William Daniels. A Lot.

It’s pretty sad when the Mike on a Date four-part commercial was more interesting than the actual show.

Unkept Keepsakes

When I was a teenager, I went through a phase when I could not read enough of those Silhouette Desire romances. You know, the red-covered novels with advertisements that promise you a cute heart pendant on a gold chain, if you just agree to have the books shipped each month, in a carton of six.

I never got the shipments, since a friend got the books for free, but I confess that a part of me wanted the necklace. I never got that, either, but when I was cleaning out my office the other day, I found a box that dated back to high school, and in it was one of the advertisements ripped from one of those novels.

I know that there are many who think those romance novels are silly and stupid. I’ll grant that they are a bit formulaic. (More than a bit.) But now, I also know that they are an important entrance into professional writing for many authors, and that being successful in that genre can lead to much greater success, though it can also be a satisfying career in and of itself.

I confess, if I could write such a novel, I totally would.

Writer’s Toolbox

One of the things I picked up at Barnes and Nobel the other day was The Writer’s Toolbox, which was 40% off it’s discounted site. I haven’t used it yet, but I took it apart last night to see what was inside, and it looks like fun.It comes with a book full of examples, explanations of the games, and helpful hints, some of which are oft-repeated wisdom. “Be specific,” it reminds, as Natalie Goldberg also often does. It reminds you to name people and things. Not ‘a sedan’ but a Honda Accord. Not a funky doorknob but one designed by Baldwin.The games are what appeal to me most, as they’re meant to help unstick you when you feel blocked. One involves popsicle sticks with first sentences, non sequiturs and such, that you have to blend, another involves spinning wheels to find your protagonist’s character, goal, obstacle and action required to move forward.

It all seems like a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to have time to use it.

Presidents’ Day Consumerism

Well, this Presidents’ Day won’t see us shopping for discount furniture or painting the kitchen, though I still want a chaise for my living room and a daybed for my office, and though we’d planned to paint the kitchen over the long weekend, when we thought the long weekend was next week, but it did see me picking up some great discounts from the bookstore after my facial and eyebrow wax yesterday.

Am I the only one who loves the $4.98 table at Barnes and Nobel? I often find stuff I’d planned to read months before and never got to, so then I get it for a quarter of the price.

Among my purchases yesterday were a chick-lit-ish book called Notting Hell and another title that looked interesting, The Electric Michelangelo. Both will eventually be reviewed here.

Queen of the Tambourine

by Jane Gardam

It was the title of this book that hooked me. I envisioned a tale about a street gypsy with pretty skirts and musical talent shaking her tambourine in a band, and having delightful love affairs with men who were ever-so-slightly disreputable.

Instead, I got a story about a woman who had been through a hysterectomy thirty years before, and still hadn’t gotten over it. If people who exhibited cerebral palsy symptoms gave up as easily as this woman did, there would be no triumphant stories, and that comedienne from The Facts of Life would never have had a career.

But I digress. Eliza is clearly mentally unstable, but we don’t really see how far gone she is because this is an epistolary novel – a series of letters all sent to a woman named Joan who may or may not be a real person. She’s always been a little odd, apparently, but now that her Diplomatic Service husband has left her, no longer able to put up with her idiosyncrasies, whatever was holding her together has cracked.

Through the letters we meet a woman who has no children, no friends, no real life outside of her husband, and while I also don’t have children, It was difficult for me to empathize with Eliza, who appeared, more than anything, to need a really good shaking.

There are the requisite revelations of the secret horrors of her life, of course, made to strangers rather than to friends, but I find myself a bit empty after finishing this book. It was well written, well crafted. I just couldn’t relate.

Even Bibliophiles Do Memes Sometimes

I was tagged by my blog-buddy Green Tuna with this meme, and since the alternative to blogging tonight is to read about individual health insurance plans, and then write about them (which is important, yes, but kind of dry), I thought I might participate.

Ms. Tuna provides the following, rather familiar, instructions:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Like her, I have some issue with the closest book. Technically the closest book to me is the instruction manual for my Blackjack, which was stashed in the back of my night stand and may never leave. But that would be kind of dry.

Then there’s the pile next to the bed, running along the window sill. Is the top one on one section of the pile significantly closer than the top book on another? Not really.

I’ve chosen, therefore, to use a book that is on the stack, as yet unread, Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen:

Sydney watched Claire work for a while. “I wonder why I didn’t inherit it,” she said absently.
“Inherit what?”

As to tagging people, if you have a book in the room you’re in when you read this, consider yourself tagged.
Or not.

A Lick of Frost

by Laurell K. Hamilton

If sex really does assist in weight loss, Merry Gentry is probably the healthiest, fittest faerie princess in creation, but in her most recent appearance, sex takes a back seat to…lawyers.

Yes, it’s true, the most recent offering in the Merry Gentry series not only has a plot, but there’s so little sex it can’t rightfully be termed faerie porn, though there’s still a lot of commenting on the beauty of her posse of gorgeous preternatural men.

The plot, by the way, involves Merry’s uncle, Kind of the Seelie Court, pressing charges against one of her men for the alleged rape of one of the women in his court. The legal conference takes up the first quarter of the book, and then we move into the political machinations of the UnSeelie vs. Seelie leadership.

If this sounds like a really flippant review, let me just say, I loved this book. The character death at the end made me cry, and there were so many plot twists, including answers to some lingering questions, that despite the tears I came away from the book feeling really satisfied.

The problem is, there’s no way I can say any more than this without spoiling everything.

If the last book in this series was PWP, this one completely made up for it.

Read with a box of tissues close by.