Monthly Archives: October 2014

DOLL BONES by Holly Black

2013 Margaret K McElderry Books

For Halloween, I wanted to share another book with a bit of scare to it. Last year it was The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black. The vampire feel to that one is perfectly tantalizing without being over the top terrifying (I just can’t read terrifying before I fall asleep at night).

DOLL BONES by Holly Black

DOLL BONES by Holly Black

Since I loved The Coldest Girl In Coldtown so MUCH, I went back to the pool of stories from Holly Black for another round. This time I read the award winning Doll Bones. I’m glad I did.

Doll Bones is the story of three friends on the cusp of growing up and leaving behind their childhood. Alice, Poppy and Zach are long time friends. They create elaborate worlds full of adventures to act out with their toys. These stories are always made-up quests for the Queen, a bone china doll locked away in a glass display case in Poppy’s house.

The day Zach’s father decides to throws away his action figures everything changes. Too hurt and embarrassed to tell the girls what happened, he puts an end of the games. Zach offers no explanations and avoids their questions.

A few nights later Alice and Poppy pay Zach a visit. They tell him that the doll they refer to as the Queen is really made from the bones of a dead girl. Unless they want to be haunted, all three of them will have to put her to rest. She is sending them on a real quest.

What I loved most about this book, besides Holly Blacks writing, is that there’s no clear-cut answer about the existence of the ghost. Is Poppy’s story about a possessed doll true or is she just wanting the game to continue? We are left to our own conclusions as to what really happens.

Doll Bones is a coming of age story where the kids are trying out being grown. The haunted aspects are never overdone. I found it all creepy and endearing at the same time.

Read more about Holly Black and her writing on her website,


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Charlie Brown Expletives


I started using that expletive back when I was teaching school. It’s fairly docile and it would come in handy for all manners of problems (like having something to yell when you slam your finger in a drawer). It also had the added benefit of not being a curse word, but I particularly liked it because it always reminded me of Charlie Brown.


Illustration by Charles Schulz

When I was a kid Sunday meant reading the comics. First Dad had to read the entire newspaper. Once he was done it was a free for all as my brothers, sisters and I raced to get a set of hands on those colorful pages.

On my turn I would read all my favorites. There was Cathy, Beetle Bailey, Hagar The Horrible, For Better Or Worse and even Family Circus. Much later I fell deeply in love with Calvin and Hobbes, but when I was a kid my absolute favorite comic strip was Peanuts.

Its-The-Great-Pumpkin Charlie Brown

I always LOVED the witch mask, but wondered why everyone just wore a sheet as a costume. Illustration by Charles Schulz

“I got a rock” – Charlie Brown


It was probably the animated holiday shows on TV that caused me to love this comic as much as I did. Every year my family watched Charlie Brown pick out the spindly little Christmas tree. We saw him try to make a Thanksgiving feast out of popcorn and toast. We waited for the Great Pumpkin right along with Linus and Sally. Peanuts was a part of my childhood. I just didn’t realize it was a tradition that helped shape how I express myself.

I bring all this up because the other day I noted that one of my sisters, who happens to be a teacher, also uses a Charlie Brown Expletive. When she’s frustrated or close to anger her term of choice is GOOD GRIEF! She’s said it for so long I’ve never even thought about how it relates to the comic strip. It seems our shared childhood was equally influenced by Charles Schultz.

charlie brown_good grief

Illustration by Charles Schulz

You are, indeed, a good man Charlie Brown.


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Today Is The First Day It Really LOOKED Like Fall

Until this morning, I haven’t noticed any tell-tale signs announcing autumn. There is the early chill coaxing me to stay under the covers a bit longer and a few pumpkins by the neighborhood doorways. Other than those suggestions,  I would claim it’s still September.

On the drive to work this morning I saw a tree whose foliage stood out amongst the bright green surrounding it.

The tree was yellow.


The Mulberry Tree by Van Gogh

Sunshine made the branches look like they were on fire; a glowing crown swaying in the breeze.

A few of the golden leaves rained down in light flutters.

It was glorious.

I can finally say, “Welcome Fall!


…until it’s time to rake.


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October Just Might Kill Me

We’re moving.

movingIt’s not our home. We’re moving our business. The reason why is a long drawn out story that I don’t even like thinking about. I only mention it because it has all but stopped my creative flow in the form of putting butt into chair and entering words on the keyboard.

When the decision was finally made, I was three-fourths the way through the second draft on my current novel. I wish I could have squeaked out that final quarter so it would be in a good resting place, but it wasn’t meant to be.

During free moments (like when I’m falling asleep, riding in the car or brushing my teeth) I’m plotting in my head. The story isn’t dead. I just can’t work on it while I’m packing boxes and trashing things I don’t even know why I’ve kept.

The move will be done before the end of October. Unless I’m dead from the strain of staring at ancient invoices, I’m planning to do NaNoWriMo. That will surely get me back in gear or send me right over the exhaustion cliff.

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year look me up. My user name is READ FACED. I’d be happy to be one of your buddies to cheer you on while maybe you can encourage me to show up.

Please send my way any words of wisdom on having to stop writing when your juices are really flowing or even on making moving easier.



InsecureWritersSupportGroupThis post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) blog hop where writers work to support and encourage each other on the first Wednesday of each month. You can click the image or link above to find more musings from other writers.

The group was founded and lead by our captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh and his band of merry cohorts. This month they are:  Kristin Smith, Elsie, Suzanne Furness, and Fundy Blue!  Please share the love.


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