Sunday, June 26, 2011

Book Review - Her Last Letter - By Nancy Johnson

I downloaded Her Last Letter onto my kindle for several reasons:
  1. It was only 99 cents.
  2. It's by an indie author. Being an indie author myself, I was curious.
  3. It had a lot of good Amazon reviews, and the story sounded interesting.
  4. It has a great sales ranking. I would love to have a great sales ranking, so that also made me curious.                                                                                                                                                I read it on the plane to Seattle, and in the evenings back at our hotel. It held my interest, and Johnson's ability to describe a scene and set a mood are commendable. The plot is like this: Gwyn finds an old letter from her now-dead sister implicating either Gwyn's husband, or their other sister's husband, in her murder. Gwyn also suspects her husband of having an affair, but she can't confront him until she investigates the murder on her own. Eventually she hires a private detective, and all sorts of family issues come to light.

I started out really enjoying the book. Johnson created a great, suspenseful mood, and since I've spent a lot of time in Colorado I enjoyed the references to skiing and mountains. But about half way through I started wishing for more character development, and that never really came. I also was disappointed with the ending. I'd describe why, but I don't want to give the ending away.

All in all, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. It is interesting to read books by indie authors, and I plan to keep on doing that. What baffles me though, is there seems to be no rhyme or reason for who is making a lot of sales and who is not. That could just be the jealous writer in me speaking, though.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Little Green Man

We have great neighbors, and several of them have kids. So next door one of them put out a little green man with a flag, warning drivers to take it slow as they drive down our alley. It was a great gesture, but of course, one day soon after the little green man's appearance his flag was stolen. It was there to be taken, so obviously someone was going to take it.

There he stood, impotent (or should I say useless?) His only function was to alert people, to caution them, but he couldn't do it without his flag. Then our neighbors across the alley looked in their garage and found a replacement. It's not a flag; it's more like a huge wand with a reflective bicycle light at the end. Not as good as a flag, but close.

Our neighbors started taking bets on how long it would be before that was stolen. Meanwhile, my son Eli made friends with the little green man. Whenever we went out for walks Eli would strike up a conversation with him. This arrangement worked out well, since the little green man is sort of quiet, and Eli talks enough for at least two people.

One night when Eli was at his grandparents, my husband Rich was standing in the kitchen when he happened to notice out the window that one of the neighborhood boys was skulking around the little green man. We'll call this boy Joe, in order to protect the not-so-innocent. Joe looked over his shoulder once or twice, then went and grabbed the little green man's wand.

Rich wondered, should he say something? He decided yes, he should.

"Joe," he called out. "I saw you buddy. You have to put that back."
Joe answered, "I was going to put it back."
Rich watched him meander around, then slowly, self-consciously, give back the little green man his wand. It's remained there ever since. However, Eli has lost interest in talking to the little green man. I guess the poor fellow wasn't contributing enough to the conversation after all.

Last week Rich and I were on vacation in Seattle, and we saw another little green man outside of a children's store. It was the highlight of the recount of our trip to our neighbors (of the recount, mind you, not of the trip itself.) I guess Dorothy is right about never having to look further than your own back door.
This is me posing with the little green man in Port Angelos, Washington.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I’m not much of a seamstress. Actually, I think I’m missing the domestic arts gene in general. I don’t like to clean (who does?) and I’ve never kept a garden. The other day some friends were talking about flowers they want to plant this summer, and I felt like they were speaking a foreign language. I said, “Wow. I’m so out of it when it comes to this stuff.”
And my friend Jill said, “You’re a writer. You don’t have time to garden.”
She had a point, although it’s all about choices. When I’m not working or spending time with my children, I most likely want to be writing, and keeping a garden would distract me from that. While some people gain huge satisfaction from being outside, working with the earth, planting seeds, nurturing them and watching them grow; I get my fulfillment from typing away on a keyboard.
Which leads to today’s subject. When I found out this week’s blog gang was on quilting, I felt just even more lost than I would had it been on gardening. The last time I made a quilt was when I was in Girl Scouts, and that was with the pre-cut square, simple pattern formula.
But last spring my dear friend Christina made a quilt for my baby Pauline. It just might be my favorite baby gift because it’s beautifully done, but more importantly, it was made with love especially for Pauline. I asked Christina to share with me her thoughts about quilting.
 “It seemed like a tradition moms pass down to their children,” Christina said. “I wanted to make a quilt for Justine (her daughter)… she’d always have it and know her mom made it for her.”
“It’s an accomplishment that lasts,” she continued. “When you cook a good meal, at the end it’s gone. But a quilt is a physical reminder of how much you care. Nowadays time is more valuable than money. Putting time into something shows how much you care.”
When Pauline is old enough to understand, I’ll tell her the story behind her quilt. I’ll let her know how happy Christina was for me when I told her I was pregnant, and how invaluable her friendship has been over the years. I didn’t make quilt to pass down to Pauline, but the one made by Christina means just as much.