Want to know what’s cool? Well, go to Twitbook or Facester or wherever you kids think is “radical” nowadays. This is what’s hip in Nicole’s world right this moment. You dig?
Nicole is currently…
Reading: “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman. Why haven’t I read Neil Gaiman before now? I dunno, I’m stupid, I guess. I read his Sandman graphic novels in college and then I suppose I got distracted by Arrested Development and Firefly. At any rate, I was at the library the other day and picked out “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” because I was in a hurry and my friend Michelle loves Neil Gaiman and won’t shut her Facebook trap about how much she loves him. Anyway, exactly three pages in, I was a believer. “Ocean” was so moving and heartfelt, so mysterious and threatening, and so overwhelmingly beautiful. So naturally, I had to move on to the urban fantasy classic “Neverwhere.” It’s obviously brilliant, funny in just the right places, and even though I know in my heart who the betrayer is going to be, I’m reading in the futile hopes that it won’t be true. My point? I’m now Michelle. Read Neil Gaiman. Do it. Immediately.
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: It is hard for me to describe how much I loved Venus Williams and Roger Federer playing in the Wimbledon finals. First of all, I love them both as players. Second, they are approximately my age, and as someone who has legitimately hurt myself getting out of bed and bending over in the shower, seeing them kicking ass long after the pundits put them out to pasture was thrilling and motivating. I miss my girl Serena, but I’m looking forward to the U.S. Open. My first love, the Kansas City Royals, are being a bunch of royal headaches. They are about 6 back from the Indians and steadily losing ground, while remaining in a cluster of about 5 teams vying for the Wild Card spot and not exactly leading the pack. If the Royals do make the playoffs, and make no mistake, I hope they do, it’ll just mean a bad team made the playoffs. However, we are going to lose at least a third of our core next year, so it’ll probably be another 8 years at least before the Royals can even dream of contending again, so I’d like to get a shot this year.
Traveling: Next trip up: NEW YORK CITY! I love NYC and am so excited to be heading back in August. Chris is coming with me, and this is his first time in the Large Apple, and it’s going to be fun for me to have a friend in the city instead of sadly eating dumplings by myself and constantly apologizing for running into people. We are definitely going to at least one comedy show, a play, and (fingers crossed) meeting his girlfriend Lidia Bastianich at Felidia’s. I made a close to last minute decision to fly home to Kansas City in early September for my cousin’s wedding, which I’m looking forward to in the same way you look forward to getting your face waxed. In April, it’s off to Key West for another cousin’s wedding. Full disclosure, I haven’t officially been invited, but I’ve been looking for an excuse to drive down through the Keys for a while now, and this is it. I won’t even be sad if we don’t make it to the actual wedding.
Writing: Both “College Town” and “Black River” are edited, done, and about to get representation at the conference in NYC in August. I don’t know which lucky agent is going to pick up those gems, but I’m truly happy for them. I’m working on a couple short stories, as I do between big novel projects, one about Mary (yep, THAT Mary) searching for the true meaning of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and a fun little ditty about if men had a 9 pm curfew and how that still doesn’t stop them from murder LOL. I’m doing a lot of research on astral projection, lucid dreaming, and sleep paralysis for a book that I’ll probably research to death until another idea becomes fully formed and decides to be written first.