Friday, July 20, 2007

A Regimental Murder

Tonight I'm taking three girls and one boy to the Harry Potter book release party. Pray for me! Just kidding, all four kids are nice, and I'm sure that I'll spend the evening tucked into a comfortable chair at Barnes & Noble reading while we wait for the book to come out at midnight. And tomorrow the house will be silent as Molly has her nose in the book until its conclusion (then I get it!) Many journalists are speculating that this is the end of an age, and I believe that's true. When will this many people be this excited about the release of a children's book? A book that has transcended generations and nationalities? It's enraged some fundamental Christians and thrilled educators that kids are finally reading something. Many other writers have profited from the popularity of J.K. Rowling's hero: Jenny Nimmo, Cornelia Funke, D.J. Raynes and others have seen their books take off as kids look for something to read between HP books. Harry Potter got Doogie to read when nothing else could, and while he's not a regular reader now, I can't imagine what he would have been like without Hogwarts. Molly's always been a voracious reader. She's read the first few HP books until they have fallen apart. In a few years, I look forward to falling in love with the series all over again when I can introduce them to Mia.

I've been tagged by Angela Hunt with a meme. If you're reading this and have a blog, consider yourself tagged as well.

1. What's the one book or writing project you haven't yet written but still hope to: I'm still trying to finish The Definition of Family. When that's done, I have outlines for several more. I just have to get my butt in gear!

2. If you had one entire day in which to do nothing but read, what book would you start with? Whichever one was on top of the library stack. I have a stack of library books about 10-15 high and another stack of books I've been sent that's usually about 20 high. I tend to read whatever is due next, unless there's a mystery by Elizabeth Peters or Anne Perry, those jump to the top of the stack.

3. What was your first writing "instrument" (besides pen and paper)? I got a manual typewriter as a gift from my Grandma Valley when I was about eight. I typed up poems, letters and even a funeral liturgy for a bird on it.

4. What's your best guess as to how many books you read in a month? 15-20 sounds about right.

5. What's your favorite writing "machine" you've ever owned? I miss my laptop, not that I did much writing writing on it, but it would have been perfect.

6. Think historical fiction: what's your favorite time period in which to read? (And if you don't read historical fiction--shame on you.) late Victorian era to post World War I England.

7. What's the one book you remember most clearly from your youth (childhood or teens)? Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were my best friends which explains why I still love a good mystery.

Speaking of mysteries:

A Regimental Murder by Ashley Gardner is the second book in the Captain Gabriel Lacey series set in Regency London. Lacey is walking off some of his lingering depression when he spots a beautiful woman struggling with a man with a knife. He quickly intervenes and finds himself investigating her husband's recent murder and the label of murderer that went with him. Lacey involves his friend Grenville, cream of the ton, and bodies start dropping like flies. Lacey is a most enjoyable hero: he has no compunction about pounding the snot out of villains, and he treats ladies with extreme respect, all while maintaining his pride in poverty. He is threatened again for longtime nemesis Denis, and starts the search for his long lost wife and daughter. So much happens within the 240 pages, it makes you wonder why other authors can't cull their own 400 pages down to something more reasonable. Gardner's characters are deeply complex with unfathomable motivations. Lacey's relationships with Brandon and Louisa are constantly revealing new sides to each character. This is a mystery series with heart and intense characterization.

Enjoy the weekend!