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, 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.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A novella excerpt.

This is an excerpt from a novella, "Save Yourself," I had written and worked on many years ago.  Holly, a twenty something, can't seem to get out of her own way in her path to try and find herself.  She had entered AA only to find out she wasn't a dipsomaniac, joined a demonic self-help group, and lost her job as a volunteer for Alzheimer patients.  Here, she has gone back home for a family weekend.

      After lunch, Father took the kids back to the house.  Mother, Erin, and I loaded into the minivan for more shopping.  A familiar "hunt and gather" warrior feeling surged through me as I slid the van door shut and took my place on the bench seat in back.  I looked to our animistic tribe leader as she called to Erin's minivan, "Fashion Shop at St. Mathews."  With those words I felt my mental state alter, my senses heightened as our leader smeared bright red war stripes on her lips.  I followed suit with my chap stick.  The transformation was infecting us all.
       "Your father's an asshole."  She pronounced as she surveyed her stripes.  It was her war cry and shopping was an act of denouncing him.
       I only nodded my agreement and looked to my sister who was hunched over the steering wheel focused on the traffic ahead.  I secured my seatbelt as we halted and surged foreword but then lay down on the bench seat to avoid the inevitable nausea and possible whiplash.  I could not bring myself to fuel Mother's flame.  I was more aware of this overwhelming need for this hunt that lay ahead of us.  Like I had not eaten for days I focused ahead and plotted my attack on these newly wanted items to be possessed, all of the unwitting items, just sitting there; a blue shirt, a scarf, panties, and belts. I must hunt down these 'brand named items at clearance prices', and matching socks; kill them and drag them to the register for proof of the hunt.  I felt like sitting up in the seat and howling.  I think I may have been drooling.
      We entered the store without uttering a grunt and separately prowled to our favorite killing fields.  Mother to her 'women's' section, Erin to 'career', and me - stuck between the 'junior' fashions and 'casual wear'.  Later we met up at the accessories and smiled to one another as the blood from our kills dripped off our chins.
      "Looook.  I found this for you sisssster."  I reveal to Erin a jacket.   She snatched it from my paw and I recoiled.
      "Yesss. Yesssss. That is good sisssster.  Look Mother, it matches this purssse."  She whipped out a purse from the purse bush in an attempt to challenge the leaders sense of style.
      "Mmm, hmmm."  Unconcerned with this challenge from her eldest, Mother dove into the purse bush and effortlessly pulled out another.  "But this pursssse matches better.  See the piping?"  And with a dull twinkle from her eyes the challenge ended.
       I watched this exchange with fascination.  Sister's challenge had no flair, it had not been thought out, and there had been no flanking.  It had been a simple and straightforward challenge.  Amateur, she should know better, I thought.
       The shopping sovereign still reigns but her endurance is faltering and her bloodshot eyes told us she was growing weary.  In the unspoken kindred language, my sister and I acknowledged Mothers fatigue.
        Sister hunted down a perch for the sovereign outside the dressing rooms.  But I had a different plan of attack.  That is a benefit of being the youngest, the eldest always make the initial mistakes and you learn from them.  A head on challenge will never work.
        I was still trying on my newly hunted pelts as Mother and Erin waited outside the dressing rooms.  Sister surveyed an outfit I had gathered around me and grimaced, pulling at the waistline.
        "You're barely a size 9 in this," she tugged harder on the waistline, "but a 6 in this?"  She waved a dress at me.  "Take them off, their sizes are messed up."
        Mother snarled at the pants, "I don't like them. They look like you dropped a load in back."
        "Hurry," my sister said outside the dressing room.  "Hand me those two shirts and the pants."
        "But that will mess up my number."  I looked at my dressing room number hanger that was clearly marked "8".
        "So. I don't want them to think I stol-" I pleaded.
        "Hand them over, it doesn't matter."
        "Erin, it does matter-"
        "Give me the shirts."  She was reaching below the door swiping at the clothing nests I had constructed. She grew agitated and desperate.  "Mother's wearing out and we still have to go to the shoe store." 
        I threw open the door, disheveled but dressed.  "Fine, here."  I handed her the requested clothes and tossed the number hanger to the attendant. I kept the unwanted and uncounted items in hand, so as not to be counted by the attendant but then placed them down on Mother's vacated chair.  My killer instinct was now in full radiance and Mother was looking like the weaker prey.
        Clerks scattered off the showroom floor of shoe store when the warning chime rang upon our entry.  I slunk through the aisles slowly, picking out six separate pairs.  I tried on each of them in equal measured disapproving fits and gesticulating pleasure that narrowed the choice to three.
        I bounced around in each of the three until I thought the sovereign would drop from her perch.
        "Get the brown ones."   She kept repeating as if asking for oxygen.
        After a while Erin narrowed her almond shaped eyes and threw daggers at me.  She knew what I was doing and did not approve, it was not a fair challenge. It was not a full frontal style challenge as they had repeated through the years.  It was disrespectful to use my youth and endurance. 
        I smiled at Erin, "I could go on for dayssssss in these shoes."  I plopped down next to Mother.  "But you're right, these brown ones I think."  I had no intention of challenging Mother.  I just wanted to make sure she knew how well she'd trained me.  I may not hunt and gather in the same killing fields as she and Erin.  I may not employ the same tracking technique nor challenge in the same style.  But I can still pursue and harvest right next to the reigning sovereign.  "They're more expensive, but I think they're better quality and I like the Adidas as well."  I said to her.  I knew she'd be proud of that.