About Joshilyn

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Three Thriller Girls and a Boy Bearing Sweet Tea

I have taken an axe to this novel. It is HORRIFYING. I was almost done, could see the end, and all at once I stopped fighting to make it go how I wanted and am letting it go how it wants to go. Not two voices. Three. THREE! I hacked it open and threw some pink-n-pretty vital organs sideways and am replacing them with pig valves and robot parts, letting the Liza-monster tell her part in it, because you can’t HAVE a Liza-monster and not let it speak. RIGHT? Right.

Right? I hope right. Because otherwise a perfectly good book is in chunks on my floor for no reason. Heh.

This means the stack of Southern Fiction I have been saving up to savor when drafting is done all got shoved back in the closet. I am reading ANYTHING except Southern as I sniff out Liza’s voice, and have found some things you might VERY well like, but be warned, none of these books is what I would call sweet. None of these books are for the squeamish. They are not tuned to the sensibilities of those with delicate constitutions. And they are also not at ALL Southern…

From Baltimore (natch) and the DC area: I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman. Best. Laura. Lippman. Ever. And I think she is a goddess. SO. That’s sayin’ something. Read by Linda Emond, who leans more toward a straight read than an acting job. She lets the language and the story speak, which is never a bad idea when it’s Lippman’s language and story.

From Vancouver Island: Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. A debut that makes me all atwitter to see what she does next. It’s being marketed as a mystery/thriller, but it has a lot of elements of a family drama book club type of book, too. I listened to the audio version, and I think Angela Dawe’s expressive, dramatic style and throaty voice added to my enjoyment.

Meanwhile, across the pond in Ireland: Faithful Place by Tana French. I think her first book remains my favorite, but only because I read it first. All three books in this linked series deliciously chewy and dark. I read this one with my eyes, so no idea how the audio is. I can tell I highly recommend THE LIKENESS audio.

Want less body parts, more South, less mayhem, more sass, maybe some bittersweet humor and a helluva of a voice? Fine. The last southern book I read before I picked the up the axe was TRULY lovely. The Sweet By and By by Todd Johnson. He’s one to watch.

Meanwhile, right after I finished listening to I’D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE, I went to cyber stalk Lippman in a red wash of fan-grrrrl-nerd-passion, and I found THE BEST MEME EVER (click here to play) on her blog.

You get to put yourself into a Time magazine cover story. I already read all the ones on Lippman’s blog and tons of people I love are playing, to hilarious effect, including crime novelist Cornelia Read. GO PLAY! I played already, and my entry is comment 37. If YOU play, let me know or copy it here, I want to read yours.

20 comments to Three Thriller Girls and a Boy Bearing Sweet Tea

  • Hee hee! Those are hilarious. I played – I’m next after you, #38. But I’m not a writer, so it’s probably not as delicious as many of the others :)

  • c.a. Marks

    Thank you for this! Now I have something new to read. I’ve also been looking for something “new” to read.

  • Aimee

    Heh — loved your entry! I played too, I’m right after Jen A at #39.

  • Jill W.

    Yay, book recs!

  • HA Those are AWESOME! Every take I read on this meme makes me pee a little. Are you guys that great? Or am I just easy? I think it is you, being great, personally.

    Karen Abbott just played, too. Go read hers. HEHEHEHHE

  • Yay, new Laura Lippman! Is it just me or does she just get about a zillion times better with each new book? I hadn’t heard about this one for some reason so thanks. On my request list.

    My mother and I never agree on books anymore. Apparently as she gets older she is more prone to the cuddly while I am all about the dark and squeamish-y. It’s troubling. Obviously my tastes are far superior because I absolutely adore “In the Woods” and she didn’t. Seriously, what is wrong with her?

    Anyway. Point. So I thought she might be able to give “Life Sentences” a go and figured I could throw some Laura Lippman her way. She did. A while later she asked me for more Laura Lippman books. I recited one after another, but she had already read every single one I could think of. I was very very proud.

  • Wendy

    If you have the chance I highly recommend listening to the Faithful Place audiobook. Tim Gerard Reynolds does an AMAZING job as the reader. He even sings (when appropriate of course).

  • Bridget

    Loved The Sweet By and By by Mr. Johnson and had him personalize a few last Decatur Book Festival for Xmas gifts for folks who were dealing with their own mothers in the twilight of their lives.

  • OMG, what an excellent meme! I played along, chiming in at comment #44.

  • *salutes Rachel’s mad Oscar Wilde Street Cred*

  • That is a great meme (I may have to steal it in the not-too-distant future), but mostly I really, really want to see the Maisey-done hair! I know, I’m doomed to disappointment, but my imagination is running positively wild imagining your hair done by none other than your incredible daughter, complete with flower barrettes and the Hello Kitty comb!

  • Haley

    I hope your axe-wielding is going well. I hate making big changes after I’m close to finishing a work. Yesterday I took a giant axe and hacked out what I thought would be the main scene of this novel I am writing, and then I went back and changed a bunch of crap so it made sense with the changes. This is my least favorite kind of work because with all the changes, my friend Word Count in the lower left-hand corner does not go up. He just sits there quietly, staying the same or even going down. I feel like he is judging me. I think maybe my mental illness number is a leetle bit high, right now, perhaps.

  • jeanette

    I played the meme. I am number 46. Thank you, thank you, thank you for ALL the times you make me laugh! Can’t wait for your next masterpiece. :)

  • jess h

    I played the meme. I am number 47 (I think). Yep. Just checked. Loved yours. My sympathies about the boobs that enter a room ahead of you.

  • Michelle-who-is-Shelley

    Wish you had posted this blog one day earlier. I was at the bookstore and I had I’d Know You Anywhere in my hand, weighing it against The Language of Trees by Ilie Ruby. I went with The Language of Trees (pretty cover and pretty name).
    I will join you in recommending Still Missing. I loved it.

    I am feeling a bit naive because I don’t know what a “meme” is and I am a little afraid to go there. . . .

  • NO FEAR! Memes are just questionaires, games or suchlike that spread quickly on the internet—- a very famous meme is “100 things about me.”

    http://thedailymeme.com/what-is-a-meme/

  • Ray

    I decided to do this mad-libs stylee, first asking my own Best Beloveds for random adjectives/body parts/et cetera. After saving a few for myself, we came up with this:

    So you have to start with Joss, who takes you to her fellow fabulous author Laura Lippman, who’s doing this meme on her website:

    Jonathan Franzen is going to be on the cover of TIME. I had it on good authority that I was the other August author under consideration, but so it goes.

    Now, many years ago, Nora Ephron — man, how many times have I cited her on this blog — had a killing parody of how to write a magazine cover story. Interestingly, the rules as she observed them do not seem to have changed much. This profile (an abridged version is online) begins with a comically strained scene involving 41 sea otters.

    “One of the humans admiring them is Jonathan Franzen. Franzen is a member of another perennially threatened species, the American literary novelist. But he’s not as cool about it as the otters. He’s uneasy. He’s a physically solid guy, 6 ft. 2 in., with significant shoulders, but his posture is not so much hunched as flinched. At 50 (he turns 51 on Aug. 17), Franzen is pleasantly boyish-looking, with permanently tousled hair. But his hair is now heavily salted, and there are crow’s-feet behind his thick-framed nerd glasses.”

    So here’s the game: Cut and paste the above paragraph into the comment section and rewrite to describe yourself.

    You really need to click above to get to hers, and the numerous variations on it that her readers posted, but here’s mine- or rather, mostly, yours. I took your MadLibs suggestions from earlier, reserving a few for myself, and came up with this:

    “One of the humans admiring them is captainsblog. captainsblog is a member of another perennially threatened species, the American literary TALK SHOW HOST. But he’s not as USEFUL about it as the otters. He’s YELLOW. He’s a physically HIRSUTE guy, 6 ft., with significant THUMBS, but his posture is not so much hunched as POLITICAL. At 50 (he turns 51 on NOV. 9, MAKING HIM ALMOST THE SAME AGE AS thanatos_kalos’S MOTHER, DEPRESSING HIM GREATLY), captainsblog is BARELY HUMAN-LOOKING, with permanently FRIZZY hair. But his PORK is now heavily salted, and there are JOWLS UNDER HIS thick-framed NOSE HAIR, BUT THAT’S AN OTTER STORY.”

    (Am I still being moderated? What did I do? What do I have to do before I can be extremely-radicalized again?)

  • Leslie

    I cant’t comment on hers here at work :( It’s blocked – I’m a teacher. So I posted here – I hope thats ok :)

    One of the humans admiring them is LESLIE MITCHELL. MITCHELL is a member of another perennially threatened species, THE FORMIDDABLE JUNIOR HIGH TEACHER. But she’s not as SAD about it as the otters. She’s RESIGNED, SHE’s ACCEPTED IT. She’s aN INTERESTING SPECIMEN, 5 ft 4 in., BUT NO ONE BELIVES HER, HER MOTHER SWEARS SHE’S SHORTER AND HER STUDENTS SWEAR SHE’S TALLER. SHE’s NOT. SHE’S LOUD, OUTSPOKEN AND TOUGH BUT CARING IN THE RIGHT PLACES AND TIMES. SARCASM IS HER LANGUAGE AND SHE SPEAKS IT WELL. MITCHELL is FUN LOVING, with permanently tousled RED hair BECAUSE SHE IS TOO LAZY (OR BUSY) TO STYLE IT MOST DAYS AND WOULD RATHER GET 5 MORE MINUITES OF SLEEP. Her UNMANICURED eyebrows are now heavily salted and there are crow’s-feet at the CORNERS OF HER EYES THAT ARE THE COLOR OF RHOADE ISLAND CHICKEN SHIT (ACCORDING TO HER GRANDFATHER), WHICH MEANS SHE CAN LAUGH IN THE FACE OF CHOAS AND HORMONE CRAZED KIDS.

  • JennyM

    One of the humans admiring them is JENNY MOORHEAD. MOORHEAD is a member of another perennially threatened species, THE COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LAWYER (THOUGH SHE SUSPECTS THE SPECIES IS NOT SO MUCH “THREATENED” AS “UNIVERSALLY REVILED”). But she’s not as CHEERFUL about it as the otters. She’s QUEASY, BUT THAT’S PROBABLY JUST BECAUSE OF THAT LAST TINY CHIK-FIL-A BISCUIT AND SHE KNOWS SHE SHOULD PUT THEM DOWN BUT HAVE YOU HAD ONE? THEY’RE CRACK, ON A BISCUIT. OR MAYBE IT WAS THE WINE LAST NIGHT. She’s a physically TALLISH GIRL, 5FT. 8IN., with significantLY TENSE shoulders, THE KIND THE MASSAGE THERAPIST WILL INVITE THE OTHER MASSAGE THERAPISTS IN TO GAWK AT, WHICH REALLY DOESN’T SO MUCH HELP WITH THE RELAXATION NOW, DOES IT?, but her posture is not so much hunched as IT HAS SIMPLY GIVEN UP TRYING. At 32 (she turns 51, SHE HOPES, AFTER A LONG, LOTTERY-FUNDED AND DELIGHTFULLY HEDONISTIC JAUNT THROUGH THE NEXT TWO DECADES), MOORHEAD is pleasantly BEMUSED-looking, with permanently tousled hair BECAUSE WHEN IT’S DOWN SHE’D RATHER IT WAS UP, AND VICE VERSA, YOU KNOW HOW IT IS. But her POPCORN is now heavily salted WITH EXTRA BUTTER (IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY?), and there are crow’s-feet BESIDE HER EYES AS SHE SQUINTS AROUND HERSELF AND WONDERS HOW SHE CAME TO BE STARING AT A BUNCH OF OTTERS WITH THESE OTHER PEOPLE WHO ALL SEEM TO BE NOVELISTS OF SOME SORT; THAT MUST HAVE BEEN SOME COCKTAIL PARTY LAST NIGHT.

  • Tenessa

    I know this is only vaguely relevant, but here it is anyhow. My favorite series of books (non-fantasy) is written by Diana Gabaldon. I picked up a new author I’d never heard of because Ms. G had written a fantastic complement about the first novel that was printed on the front: Sara Donati. I finished that series and liked the way the author put words to paper so much that I wanted to read more by her. Turns out Sara Donati is her pen name that she wrote that series under, but she writes under her real name, too: Rosina Lippi. I bought a couple of her novels: one because it won awards and one because it intrigued me. “The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square” was really, really good. I read it in a day and a half. Partway through, I close the book and set it down with the front facing down. I happen to glance at the back and see YOUR NAME! I’m thinking, “What a small world!” One of my faves leads me to a new author that I could easily put on my top ten list and my favorite author of all time has written a review that was printed on the back. Anyway, it felt kinda like a circle even though it’s not because I was reading Donti’s series when “Backseat Saints” was released. I finished the series and then reread “gods in Alabama” for good measure before tearing my way through “Backseat.” The very next book I read was “The Pajama Girls.”
    I just had to share.
    Oh, and “Backseat” was spectacular!!