Saylor's Goodreads Bookshelf

Saylor's books

Animal Farm
Where the Sidewalk Ends
The Great Gatsby
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Of Mice and Men
The Alchemist
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Lord of the Flies
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Little Women
A Tale of Two Cities
The Count of Monte Cristo
Les Misérables
Moby-Dick or, The Whale
The Joy Luck Club
The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Saylor's favorite books »


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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Happy Endings

So just a quick update. Steve, the Christmas Stranger - went to his new home on January 14th, or maybe it was the 15th. It doesn't matter, he's there now. He's healthy and happy and has a new loving family. And here's how THAT went down:

A couple of days after I posted a notice of this sweet guy, a friend of a friend on facebook had mentioned she had a dream that she was given a tuxedo cat. So, the mutual friend contacted me and asked if it was okay if she put us in contact. I wrote, "DON'T DODDLE! DO IT!"  Then I turned off my all caps. Long story short, our two spoiled rotten cats are happy, Steve is no longer being bullied by them, and I don't have survivor guilt about the scared kitten who wandered into our yard looking for a warm and dry place to sleep. Oh and by the by, I did put up numerous posters around the neighborhood and a couple on local bulletin boards looking for his owners. But, YAY HAPPY ENDINGS!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Steve, the Christmas Stranger

I guess it was about a week and a half before Christmas our older cat, Boudreaux, started acting strange around our back shed.  He would go in for a while, come out, look around, and start sniffing around the back yard. Then the younger little one Margeaux Martine (Mimi) began the same routine. When they came inside they'd sit at the back window for hours staring out into the back yard. They were looking for something. I started to worry we had a possum or worse a raccoon coming around.

Finally one day I saw this guy on the back fence. Once I finally got a good look at him I noticed he was still a kitten. Probably about 5 months, till in tact, but not spraying yet. I thought perhaps a neighbor had lost him, so I put up signs around the neighborhood. The next day the signs were gone, I put up new ones, and those disappeared in the night. I have to assume his people didn't want to be found. And you see this is why I generally don't mix with the human breeds.

Since I never saw him around the backyard after nightfall I still held out hope he only came around during the day. But just in case, I put a warm bed out in the shed and periodically put some food out there for him. Then the rains came, torrential, sideways, cold, and interminable rain. I checked the local bulletin boards, the local online postings. But found nothing. Now it's two days before Christmas and I'm not about to dump him at a shelter. Not that there's anything at all wrong with shelters but we don't "rescue" our pets from paradises. And I don't like the feeling I get that I'm passing along a burden , like there is something wrong with him.

Needless to say he ended up here in the laundry room, away from the cold rain and our two spoiled creatures. Let the caterwauling begin! Boudreaux stood sentinel staring at the closed door while Mimi threw her head up and paced back and forth singing 'the lonesome ballad of the orphan kittens'. During the day "Steve" (he looks like a Steve), was happy to sit on the back porch and watch the rainfall down until it was night and he'd march himself, with his head bowed in respect to the residents, into the laundry room.

I don't understand why someone would dump him on the side of the road. We've had him around our cats now and frankly I wish some of his good manners would rub off on them.  He's playful, alert, tidy, and loving.  Now here's the crux of the situation, we can't keep him. We talked about it, and for good reasons it would simply be unfair to take him on at this point. But I can foster him for a while as I search for a good home.  Because, Steve the Christmas Stranger who has been living in our shed, deserves a warm place that can appreciate him.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Growth spurt

I had a growth spurt. The month of October was taken up with writing the first draft of Red, White, and Scotch.  Then in November I remastered The O Line's podcasts.  Beginning now, the  O Line Mysteries podcast is available on Audible under the title The O Line Mystery Shorts.
 I also e-published all the scripts for the shows on Amazon Kindle.

I have no excuse for the first 15 days of December, other than I was tired of sitting in front of the computer with headphones on and feeling thick and sloggy from too much coffee and not enough exercise. So I got a trainer. Her name is Brittaney and she's in perfect shape and has perfect posture (no writers slump for her) and even shaved her hair off to donate it to cancer patients. And once I overcame my initial reaction of reaching over and pinching her perfect neck off I realized she's a perfectly lovely person who I should shut up and do what she tells me to do. She's a dynamo and I'm lucky to have met her.

Unfortunately, I had to take down the podcast from the O Line website. I know there are some who wrinkle their nose as this but hey, they were available for free for like 4 years. That was a very long and slow boat to miss. Call it cross marketing, call it what you will, I just hope to reach a broader audience with audible. Time will tell.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Daily Weird

So, I'm standing in line at the checkout counter at my local pet food store and a blind man walks in. 
Click, click. Click, click. Click. "Ouch."
"You wanna hear a joke?"  He asked me.
I do a quick assessment.  This fella's about 75 years old, he's blind, and either one of two things are going to happen here.  He's either going to tell me a funny joke about a blind man walks into a pet food store, or he's going to say something wholly inappropriate to me.  So I think, what the hell, I haven't witnessed anything weird in at least 24 hours so I play along.
"Hit me with it Pops."
So Blind Pops does a little squat thrust and says, "Okay!"  The checkout lady looks completely startled and pulls out her checkout gun and scrambles over to stand in between us and begins beeping my items.  "What do you call a man with no arms and no legs sitting in a pile of leaves?"
"Rustle...How does a butcher introduce his wife?"
"Meat Patty."
So I hit him with "Where do you put a barking dog?" And quickly add, "In a barking lot!"
"95.63!"  The cashier lady says. I zip my bankcard in the card zapper and punch in my code. (Side note: I've been out of town and we were out of everything wet-food, dry-food, fish food, cat treats, and other cat bribing items) Another clerk shows up and asks him what he wants.  "I want the big bag with the dog on the front. It's blue, I think."
And I hit him with another, "What do you get when you cross a Fed-Ex driver and an UPS driver?...Fed Up!"
"Why are there no Wal-marts in Afghanistan?"  Now he's excited, he doesn't even wait, "Too many Targets!"
"Why did the bacon laugh?"  I retort.  "Because the egg cracked a yolk!"
"You want another?"  He pants out. 
At this point my cashier lady is making a get away with my cart of items.  "Come on!" She tosses over her shoulder at me. 
"Can't Pops, gotta go. But thanks."
"Thank you!"  He says in the direction I had previously been standing.

So there you have it. I can now cross off "get in joke battle with blind person at a checkout counter" off my bucket list.  Whew.  And thank you bubble gum wrappers of America. Now I just have to find an Argentinean nun who has a distinct memory of fortune cookie sayings.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Do you wipe?

Full disclosures first:  A. I have jet lag and B: I own a stock that sells a brand of sanitizing hand wipe.  That said, I can fully disclose that I'm the crazy woman sitting next to you on the plane that is using sanitized hand wipes on her seat, seat pocket, and seat back tray. And if you'd let me I'd use them on you(rs) too.  Yes. I. Would.  I have good reasons for this.  I've known flight attendant’s who have told me about the disgusting things they see on planes that involve snot and vomit and poop.  Did you know that  segments of a flight are also called legs?  So a plane flying from Atlanta to D.C. then goes on to say Detroit and back to Atlanta.  And these planes that do these segments or legs do not get cleaned in between legs.  Let me repeat that, they don't clean between their legs!  And so yes, I have a problem with things that don't clean in between their legs.

Once I arrive in a hotel I drop my bags and pull out my sanitizing wipes. I don't care if it's a $500 a night or $70 a night hotel, they all get the same treatment.  A fresh sanitizing wipe for:  Phone, tables, faucet, counters, etc..  Two for the toilette area.  No offense to any hotel maintenance staff that so diligently do their jobs but humans' are a disgusting breed of mammal that are basically waste factories and I need to defend myself against mammal fluid waste.

So for a long time I kept my wiping to myself.  It's not that I was ashamed of wiping it's just that so much had been made of people about people who suffer with OCD. I think maybe it was after Jack Nicklson made a movie about a man with OCD or it just became the psycho-babble for the moment. I just never talked about it and suffered through the gawking and snickering from my aisle mates on planes.  Then I met someone who asked for a wipey for her seatback tray.  "That's such a good idea." She said.  And I felt like a Mormon.  I mean I felt happy to have helped another person be clean.  But now I'm thinking everyone knows to wipe themselves, cause this last trip I took I saw several people wiping. 

Wouldn't it be awesome if the airlines had little plastic things that went over the seat back tray's?  It could be like little rolls of that doctor exam office paper or like the paper towel rolls that zip off in lavatories. There ya' go, a million dollar idea.  It could be called jet rag.  You are welcome.

Monday, September 17, 2012

New Cat Sitter

To Our New Cat-sitter:

Thank you so much for caring for our precious, precious, furry angel babies that we love so dearly and they are truly so sweet natured.  You will notice in each room we've set up kitty jungle gyms and their little t.v.'s have been set to Animal Planet.

Sometimes when we leave town our two precious and precocious kitty angels become high strung.  First and foremost, don't panic.  Don't panic when you come in and the curtains are shredded; our big t.v. has been turned over; the lamps are shattered on the floor; the fish are missing from the bowl; the cat litter has been spread out like floor fertilizer and the bed has been used instead; all of the paper on rolls have been rolled out; the house plants have been dug up; and/or the refrigerator door is hanging on it's hinges and the contents have been sampled. This is all normal.

Don't panic if you can't actually see our little angels. They are close by, watching your every move.

It would be best if you varied your entry time so they can't prepare any traps upon your arrival.

Also if you see a trail of blood splatter's that lead to a closed door and hear whimpering behind the closed door, don't fall for it. We've lost so many cat sitters that way.

Actually if you could enter through the front door and just hum a tune from The Sound of Music while you lay out their food and place fresh water out for them (their food and bottled water is in the cabinet with the lock on it - the key is on your keychain) then continue walking through to the back door, it might be the easiest route for you to escape through. (Please don't forget to relock the cabinet!)

Best of luck to you and remember, don't panic.  We hope the $2000.00 will be enough for the weekend. Please let us know if you'll need additional medical care.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Know thy Mys-tory.

Mystery Writers:  Know thy history. #1

SPOILER ALERT: I'm gonna give away the whole plot of The Scarlet Pimpernel below.  So if you've not read the book or seen the play, it is well worth it to do so.

All the characters like Clark Kent, the Lone Ranger, Zorro, Batman, Spiderman, and Iron man to name a few, have their roots in The Scarlet Pimpernel (S.P.).  So, first S.P - very early 1900's and second, super hero's - after the Great Depression.  The S.P. was like Robin Hood (and he's from maybe even as early as the 13th century) but with way more serious consequences.  As a teenager it had to be explained to me - cuz u kno I wuz 1 of thoz teenagers.  (Luckily I had a clever teacher who used metaphors, comparisons, and humor to get through to us. Thanks Mr. D.)

Back in the turn of the century in post-Victorian England, ("back row, listen up!") The S.P. was kind of what Ironman is to us today.  The setting is England, 1792 just at the start of the French Revolution.  Sir Percy Blakeney pretends to be an incompetent aristocratic dolt while he "cleverly" goes around in a mask rescuing his French aristocratic counterparts from the guillotine and brings them back safely to England.  Sir Percy is the leader of 19 others in his "League of the Scarlet Pimpernel".  His wife, the beautiful French actress Marguerite outs him to his enemy in France and the hilarity ensues.  (Just as a side note here. This is a VERY over simplified plot summary.)

This is a much studied and written about play and novel. There are entire doctoral theses' written about The Scarlet Pimpernel for the curious and like-minded.  Some will argue this book is the most historically accurate fiction created in this era.  Others disagree and say the actual S.P. was an amalgamation of people who helped the French aristocrats escape the Revolution.  And that Orczy bent the historical facts to fit her fiction. However, what they don't argued is the events she wrote about were accurate and many of the characters are thinly veiled caricatures of actual people.

Now on to my point. I stumbled across a line by Charlene Harris in one of her Sookie Stackhouse books.  Her character Sookie said something to the effect that she didn't go to college so she gets all her 'learnin'" from fiction books. (Forgive my feeble memory Ms. Charlene; you have so many great lines.)  And I think that's very true for a lot of us who aren't the smartest people in the world.  We learn so much about cultures, history, science and life in general in our fiction reading.  We learn everything but math. (Damn it.)  Cuz you never hear of a GREAT story about how prime numbers are the devil's work and they all moved to Borneo to take over a tribe of calculator's.  And as authors we have some obligation to at least get historical facts correct in our writing fiction. 

I decided to start doing a few of these Mystery Writer's, Know thy Histories blog posts because I was reading a New York Times Bestselling Author's book last night and this author completely and totally erred in recounting a historical fact. The little nugget of misinformation had nothing to do with the plot, it was supposed to be one of those interesting asides. And no I wasn't reading some Lincoln Vampire shlock. But how could the editor's miss this?  I mean it would be interesting to learn that Anne Boleyn had six fingers but the truth is she had an extra fingernail growing out of one of her fingers, which frankly I find even more interesting and fascinatingly gross.  I don't want to rant about this, but I was very shocked.  We can't all be Orczy's or Tuchman's, grant you, but if you're going to touch on some cool piece of little known fact, get the factoid right!  Even if it is about Super Hero's or The Reign of Terror or Anne Boleyn's fingers.