Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wish You Were Dead - Todd Strasser

Todd Strasser's new book, Wish You Were Dead, is like a modern technology Christopher Pike novel. I loved Pike's books as a kid, and I think today's teens will enjoy this book just as much.

The book is told through three mediums. The first is a blog. The blogger has been tormented by the popular kids at school, especially Lucy Cunningham, for years. So when Lucy disappears the blogger is glad. Then we see through the kidnapper's eyes and learn what happens to those who vanish. The book is predominantly told through the point of view of Madison, a high school student whose popular classmates are disappearing one by one. She's friends with these people, though she's considered more of a goody two shoes in that she's polite and kind to those 'below' her in the school popularity chain. Though her cyber stocker still thinks she's a little too stuck up.

People paying close attention will figure out who the kidnapper is before the end, but the book is a lot of fun to read and shows some of the dangers of airing all your personal grievances on the internet. The characters are realistic high schoolers - in all varieties (the cool, the cruel, the picked on, the jocks, etc.). The story is quick to read and seeing the kidnapper's viewpoint keeps things tense and fast paced.

Scheduling Writing Time

I wrote a post about this several months ago. Guess I should have listened to my own advice. I finally got around to doing up a basic schedule showing when I get up and when I have to have all my work done (when the hubby gets home). Then I wrote down the various chores I needed to do during the day and you know what? I realized if I get up late I can eat lunch late and my afternoon doesn't have to start at 12 like everyone else's. It can start at 1:30 or 2, or whenever I want it to. I have this idea that at 12 I need to have lunch and that's when more active chores should commence. But if I push that back, then my morning writing time doesn't vanish because I had too many emails to read through or because some chore *needs* to be done NOW. I can see (because it's all written out) that there's plenty of time. Indeed, if I waste less time on the internet there's more than enough time to write, read and do everything else that needs doing.

And so this morning I sat down to write and actually got some writing done. Not just editing, which is where I've been spending time lately (I've made some changes to major characters that needs some back editing in the segments already written in order to go forward). Today I found a few side scenes that needed to be written, and it's a lot of fun to be writing new scenes again. And I LIKE editing. I think I've been working on this novel much too long (over 3 years, though to be fair I spent 1 1/2 years of that writing a different novel).

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Recipe For Death - Mystery Reading List

I've been posting my SF & F reading lists over at my scififanletter blog for years, but it occurs to me that I prepared several mystery endcap displays at the store and I might as well post those here. This list is a few years old so I'm sure the authors have 1 or 2 new books. The list was not meant to be comprehensive, merely to fill a display. Each book deals with food or drink. I highly recommend A Debt To Pleasure, though it's a tough read and definitely not for everyone. The books are in no particular order.

A Debt to Pleasure - John Lanchester
Rueful Death, Rosemary Remembered, Thyme of Death - Susan Wittig Albert
Death Dines In - Claudia Bishop
Murder Can Spoil Your Appetite - Selma Eichler
Creeps Suzette, Just Deserts, Legs Benedict - Mary Daheim
Shades of Earl Grey, Jasmine Moon Murder - Laura Childs
Death Du Jour, Spice Box, Stiff Risotto - Lou Jane Temple
Chocolate Quake, Crime Brulee, French Fried - Nancy Fairbanks
Crepes of Wrath, Custards Last Stand - Tamar Myers
Catered Murder - Isis Crawford
Courting Disaster, Cook In Time, Red Hot Murder - JoAnne Pence
Fudge Cupcake Murder, Strawberry Shortcake Murder - JoAnne Fluke

Cat Who Cookbook - Julie Murphy (a cookbook based on the 'cat who' mysteries by Lilian Jackson Braun)