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Nicole is currently…
Reading: “Pirate Latitudes” by Michael Crichton. I love pretty much everything that Michael Crichton has ever written. He is most known for his scientific and medical novels, but when he does stray into the waters of a different genre, he always manages to create some of my favorite stories. When he writes historical novels, his ability to blend facts of the time period and nuances of daily life with the story is flawless. It’s in direct contrast to, say, Deborah Harkness, who seemed to want to write a history text and uses fiction as a frame story. “Timeline” (though this might fall a little bit into science), “The Great Train Robbery,” and “Rising Sun” are among my favorites of his, and they fall into the out of the medical/science field category of Crichton’s work. “Pirate Latitudes” is a romp through Jamaica in the 1600s, filled with drinking, swearing, canoodling English pirates-ahem, excuse me, privateers-looking to relieve the Spanish of their gold. It’s fun, tense, and engrossing. It took me a long time to read this one because it was published a year posthumously, and I was and still am in mourning over his death. But I’m so glad I’m reading it now. We’ll see how long it takes me to work up the nerve to read “Micro,” since that really will be it.
Last Book Read: “The Passenger” by Lisa Lutz. It is no secret that I love Lisa Lutz. The Spellman Series is smart, witty, hysterical, and the footnotes are the best. If you’re looking for a book similar to the ones in the Spellman Series, this one ain’t it. This story is about Jo (or Tanya, or Amelia, or Debra, or Emma, or…), a woman on the run from the past, and when her husband dies in circumstances the police might consider mysterious, she goes on the run from her new past. It’s a quick read, and it starts with unexpected action in the form of a kidnapping and reliance on an ally she’s not sure she can trust. If you want something fun and lighthearted, this is not the book for you. Jo/Tanya/Amelia/Emma/etc’s life on the lam is extremely depressing, though it will make you grateful for what you have, that much I can guarantee, unless you’re also dead broke and living under an assumed name in Recluse, Wyoming. I thought the story itself, being with our protagonist as she tries to get a foothold in a world where she has no identity, was very interesting and kind of scary. The only let down was the ending. It wasn’t a bad ending, it was just pretty anti-climactic. It was one of those stories where the author works so hard to hide something from the past, a pivotal plot point, that by the time it was revealed, I didn’t care because I was more invested in the current story. Lutz even writes (and I’m paraphrasing, I took the book back to the library so I can’t reference it directly) that after all this time, it was a let down that there wasn’t a bigger ordeal. However, I would definitely recommend reading it, even if it isn’t as whimsical as her previous work. The times are getting darker. So are the stories.
Cheering: The Chiefs have once again let me down in their one and only playoff game of the 2016-2017 season with an abysmal performance redeemed only by half a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. So, onward to college basketball, where the KU Jayhawks are ranked #3 and are poised for another championship run in what appears so far to be a down year for college hoops. As always, had a blast rooting for my girl Serena in the Australian Open. Twenty-three, she’s the GOAT!
Traveling: It has been a lot of necessary travel for me. A road trip back to Kansas City to see my family, down to Charleston for a birthday, up to Charlotte for the NBA game, then a glorious Christmas at home. I’m starting a new gig, but hopefully this year will allow me the time to get back up to Cape Cod. I haven’t been in a couple of years, and it’s one of my favorite places to go. I have no trips planned right now, which is a huge bummer, and the next on one the horizon is probably going to be a week in Atlanta for a writing conference. I’m sure the conference will be good, but Atlanta…I’ve just had enough of Atlanta.
Writing: Finished writing and editing “College Town,” the story of a rape survivor, and I’ll be moving that to market. I sold a romance novella for an anthology about a Scotsman, a French woman, and a boat burning to cinders. After that, I’m going to do a hard edit on the first book in the Misty Monroe series. She’s everyone’s favorite paranormal investigator, and according to most of my beta readers, their favorite character, but Book 1 needs some serious work before it’s ready for market. I’m also starting some research on a book about piano players and ghosts.