Category Archives: Vacation

WIP Wednesday Viva Las Vegas!

This week’s WIP is pretty light on the progress side of things. I spent the a long weekend in Las Vegas with my dad and hubby and left all my yarn at home so I could take a vacation from my projects also. We had a great time just being together, laughing and playing a few slot machines. After all, if I would have been a big winner (which I was not) I could have bought more yarn!

dad and jim

I did get a couple of hats knitted, just need to add the eyes, nose and sew them together. This week I am going to work on my shawl 🙂

half bears

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Filed under baby hats, family, Knitting, NICU, Vacation, WIP Wednesday

Book Review: This Private Plot by Alan Beechey

This Private PlotThis Private Plot  by Alan Beechey

Poisoned Pen Press

ISBN-978146202407

305 pages Genre: Mystery

Alan Beechey’s latest, This Private Plot,is a wonderful romp. His character,  Oliver Swithin, is a children’s book author that is currently working on a trivia book. We travel with him to his childhood home in a small village appropriately named Synne, which I am pretty sure is pronounced “sin”. Swithin is with his girlfriend, a police officer that reports to Swithin’s uncle, who is also on holiday in Synne.

While out on a naked midnight romp in the “Shakespeare Race” an authentic turf maze, our couple finds Dennis Breedlove, a former children’s television personality, hanged. The police think it is suicide, because a blackmail note is found. It turns out that Breedlove is actually the blackmailer.

Swithin is on the trail of the killer. Several trails actually. Convinced that one of the blackmailers is the killer, Swithin tries to match up suspects with the nursery rhymes Breedlove used to identify them. With the help of his girlfriend and unheeded warnings from his uncle to stop, he discovers that Synne has more than its share of secrets. They include a strange writing group run by the Vicar, a couple which may be the same person, a recluse monk and possibly his own family.

All of sleuthing is going on while Swithin’s brother is trying to prove there were two William Shakespeares and his uncle is starring in a local theater production of Hamlet. There are great tidbits of information on Shakespeare as well as other bits of trivia shared by Swithin while this story unfolds.

Beechey is a master of double-entendre. From names such as Lesbia Weguelin (to which I read “let’s be a wigglin’) to the name of the actual town. Swithin talks often about living in Synne. More than once, I stopped to read a particularly funny line to whoever was near me at the moment.

This mystery is so wonderfully British in the spirit of Agatha Christie with the humor of P.G. Wodehouse, I simultaneously laughed and was intrigued. At times, this book was a bit bawdy, but never graphic, I did not find it offensive. Deliciously tangle plot that is perfectly tied up by the end of the book, with a beautiful, unexpected twist at the end.

This is the third book in Beechley’s Oliver Swithin Mystery Series. It was the first one I’ve read and worked very well as a stand-alone mystery. Swithin is an endearingly wacky character. I want to see more of him and the other characters that Beechley skillfully brings to life  .

 

Copyright © 2014 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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Filed under Children's Writer, family, Quick Nav, Vacation, Writing, writing101

Writing 101 Day 15 Life Changing Event??

 

Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force.

How does that make you feel?

I have been thinking all day about the Writing 101 prompt of the day. I have attended events, concerts, plays, movies and backyard BBQs, but honestly, in my 57 years on this planet I absolutely can say with certainty, not one of them was a life changing experience. In as much as I enjoyed most of said events, without one, two or most of them I would not have been devastated.

Maybe I am not Zen enough to put all of this importance on ONE MAJOR EVENT. I dunno.

buddy 9In the last 10 years I have been privileged enough to attend concerts of some of all-time favorite artists. Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton and Buddy Guy. I have seen plays in Chicago with superstars such as Zero Mostel, Donnie Osmond (don’t laugh, he was a very hot guy and had his shirt off most of the play), David Hyde Pierce and my personal favorite Tim Curry (Huge, HUGE fan of Rocky Horror Picture Show here!!) and many more I am surely forgetting.

 

I learned to actually appreciate opera after attending several for my Opera Appreciation Class in college. Oddly enough I hated the one in English, loved the one in Italian. I was fortunate enough to see both the best (Aida – was fabulous) and the worse (Macbeth – biggest bust ever!) of the year according to the Chicago critics.

As far as events like family picnics, trips to the zoo with our children and vacations, almost all of them have been great. There was the unfortunate incident with bad clam chowder (my dear young cousin and I fondly pronounce it chowda in honor of the east coast) in Oregon giving me food poisoning for the last four cold and rainy days of our vacation.

Don’t for a minute think we had a lot of disposable cash. I didn’t work when the kids were young, but stayed home raising them while my husband worked. We did the zoo and museums on free day, camped because it was lots of fun for three little boys and a big Old English Sheep Dog. And it was cheap. We watched our money and ate at home, not restaurants to save our money to do things with the kids and as a couple. Jim Hartman_5

 

I don’t want to gloss over hardships we may have had. Money was really tight some days, weeks, months. We made do. One of our sons had a major medical issue but is thankfully back on his own, working and thriving. We’ve had sickness and deaths of those close to us. Two come to mind that passed away too young.

After all of this information telling you that one event didn’t shape my life, I have to tell you that all of these events had a part in shaping my life.

I have learned the following (and wish I could always live by them but sometimes just can’t – I’m only human)

  • No amount of worry will affect the outcome of any situation
  • I cannot make people act differently, but I can control my reaction to them
  • Sometimes I just have to act happy when I am not. Ironically, it does improve my mood
  • Money is nice, but you can have a great time with little or none
  • Keep learning and growing. Your little grey cells will thank you
  • Family dinner is important. Talk to your family. What a concept!
  • Hold your friends close or let them go – you’ll know which is appropriate
  • Enjoy your life or change it
  • Live, laugh and love (to quote some wise, famous person who remains a mystery to me)

© Laura M Hartman 2014

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Filed under family, Frampton, Uncategorized, Vacation, writing101

I’m baaaack


I’m back again and ready to blog! My fabulous hubby surprised me with a 10 day trip to Hawaii for Christmas. It is one if the 3 states we have not visited, so was on my bucket list. Words can’t tell you how beautiful our 50th state is.

Here is one of the over 1500 pics we took the time we spent there.

DSC_0651

I’ll get back to my knitting updates this week. The 4 hour time change and going back to work within 16 hours of arriving home threw me for a loop the last 3 days.

I plan to blog on my writing site: lauramhartman.wordpress.com (In My Words) about the trip including sites we liked, restaurants we visited and lots and lots of pics.

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Filed under Hawaii, poll, Uncategorized, Vacation