Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Shahrukh Khan: The Book

I love me some Shahrukh Khan. Don't ever believe that I don't. Please watch these videos for evidence:

 Really dancing on a moving train.

 One of the most romantic songs.

... and let's go ahead and get that shirt off.

So you see? Good stuff. Now you love him too.

Naturally, I was excited when I found a biography about this actor; why not combine two things I love: SRK and reading. But oh dear, Anupama Chopra's book read like an English 101 assignment. Yes, the information was interesting (and she got it through interviews with the actual people involved, including Khan himself), but Lord Almighty, with all the background history on every single thing, I felt like the book was never going to end.

For example (paraphrased):
"Shahrukh went to the train station. Here's the history of that train station from when it was built in the 1880's till today..."
"Shahrukh was almost cast in 'This Movie', but So and So got the part instead. Here is a detailed synopsis of 'This Movie' and the history of the actor So and So. So and So was also in this other famous movie, and here is its synopsis."

As a writer I couldn't get over her over-usage of the "Be" verb and her adverb usage. I kept mentally red-marking the text as I read.
And because she had taken so many good notes from her interviews and research, the book read as though she had used every single piece of information, whether or not that piece fit.

So thanks, Ms Chopra, for the effort, but the book was a miss.
Here's another video.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


My dad has about a gazillion books. I watched him build himself a physical library in my childhood home and hole up in there for hours at a time, just reading. With a stack of books beside the chair, there would be countless others on the shelf beside the chair, on the shelves outlining the room, and later, on the shelves jutting into the interior of the room. It was a legit library.

It shouldn't be surprising that since I was homeschooled (nothing I can do about that), his love for reading seeped into my life. Sure, it was slow going. He'd assign me a book (Silas Marner, by George Eliot, for example) and check in on me every few days.

"Did he find anything yet?" he'd ask. I didn't know what that was supposed to mean because I was only skimming the book. It was dry and required, and I still haven't read it. So I replied, "maybe. He's doing lots of stuff, so I'm not sure which one you're talking about."

"Oh, you'll know."

I think it was a baby or something the guy found. I know that because of an illustration I eventually found.

Anyway, dad didn't let up on the assignments (one that I did enjoy was Great Expectations by Dickens ... I read along and it was fine, and then holy crap, did he get kidnapped? S*#% just got real!).

Mom wasn't an innocent bystander either. She read to me and my sister on a daily basis (some of it unbearably boring, like "The Big Book of Virtues" in which she read about some parents telling their kids to stay put while they went and did something, but the house caught on fire and the kids didn't move to safety because the parents told them to stay, and THEY DIED! This is trying to tell us to be obedient?) -- nice things like Sherlock Holmes and the entire Little House on the Prairie series. Dad read at night (Lord of the Rings, Dracula, etc) while my sister and I drew pictures to keep our brains from wandering.

The first real, real thing I wanted to read on my own was Nancy Drew. First the old ones I'd gotten from my gramma (like from when she was a kid, with the blue cloth covers and thick, browning pages), then the more interesting (and more grown up) Nancy Drew Files.

There were so many of them! The library had them (not my dad's library, but the regular public one). My parents thought they were too "grown up" and that I might learn about how to become a teen mother or something from this rubbish and forbade me from reading them. (I still did it.) I stopped, though, when I could finally pinpoint the murderer in the first chapter. *spoiler alert!* It was always the person who seemed like they had the least importance in the story.

And who could forget Pleasant Company? You'd know them today as American Girl, but for me, there's still nothing quite as relaxing as seeing that silhouette image of a girl reading to her doll.

I read these books like they were going out of style. Molly, Samantha, Kirsten, Felicity ... I loved them like they were my own friends. The illustrations were gorgeous -- so many times I'd go back through the books I'd already read and just look at the pictures.

As I grew up, I found YA novels (as they were back then ... not nearly as interesting as now) and begrudgingly turned to Romance. I didn't need anyone knowing I liked these and calling me out like, "Ooohh! Melanie loves BOYS!" and some kissing noises. But shoot. These stories were about girls who were cool, and there were always two guys trying to get her attention. One was always the "obvious choice" and the other, while in some lowly job or caste or whatever was always so lovely. The Obvious Choice ultimately made some dick move and disqualified himself, and the heroine would go with the gentleman, who wouldn't make her rich, but would give her happiness and a good life. *spoiler alert!* I think that's every romance novel ever written. Am I wrong about that?

Then I went through my Classics phase (after I'd graduated school, of course -- non-manditory reading is always sweeter), where nothing was worth my time if it wasn't written in the 1800s. I fell kind of in love with Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. I imagined Jonathan Rhys-Meyers in the lead role, and boy, it was a good read! Nevermind all the homosexual overtones, that was an amazing book. Thinking about it now, I kind of want to read it for a fifth or sixth time.
you'd read a book about a guy who looked like this.
Slowly, but surely, I worked my way into contemporary adult fiction. I learned that reading authors from different countries was a great way for a poor person to travel, that biographies, memoirs, and essays weren't always boring (thank you, David Sedaris), and that sometimes even adults read about the "least likely" person doing the murder. I love trying out new genres (like graphic novels -- thought that would be a waste of time, but it's not) and re-reading old favorites. I've gotten out books my parents read to me as a child and wide-eyed marveled at how good the story is ... and why don't I remember more of it?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's that magical time again...

If you don't hear from me for the next few weeks (or if you hear way too much), this is why.

This year's novel involves

  • The revamping of a familiar character (of mine)
  • A botched wedding
  • Family drama

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


A few years ago, I visited the zoo with a few friends. One of the attractions that day was that a worker there had taken out a tarantula and was letting people handle it. As someone who claimed to have "arachnophobia", I thought this might be a good chance for me to face my fears and have a good time doing it. Obviously, the giant, furry spider posed me no harm or the zoo person wouldn't possibly let a visitor hold it.

Alright, it's furry. I like furry things. It's the size of my face, so it's like it's not a spider at all. You'd need a shot gun to kill the thing. And how cool would it be to tell people I'd handled a tarantula?

My friend went first. He let the thing crawl on his hand and up his arm like it was no big deal. For me, just watching this made my heart race and gave me a weird ringing in my ears. I had to get out of there. Luckily, there was an adjoining room to the horrible tarantula one, so I bolted. LITTLE DID I KNOW this room housed a box filled with bees. "Put your ear up to the glass!" the placard beside the box said, like that was such a good idea. "You can hear them buzzing!"

No can do, I thought. The buzzing is one of the worst parts of bees.

Even though there was absolutely no danger and my friends were all enjoying the fuzzy little tarantula feet and the bees buzzing through glass, I had to stand in the middle of the room with my hands over my eyes until they were ready to go.

(And yes, this is from the same person who wants to own a cheetah. It's stupid and potentially deadly, but for some reason it doesn't scare me. After reading this article from Big Cat Rescue, I'm convinced it's a terrible idea and won't be housing anything other than a housecat.)

pretty funny!
Something that everyone thinks is their business is the answer to when I will procreate. I can't imagine why anyone is interested in something like this. I honestly don't understand. When a friend of mine says she's having a baby, my knee-jerk reaction is, "Ohh, I'm sorry!" I can't help it.

Other people get unreasonably excited. They like to see the bump get bigger and put their hands on someone else's midsection. They want to hear all about the nausea and swelling, the bloodbath that happens at the very end, and coo at the gelatinous creature afterward.

Just like my fear that somehow a 10 inch tarantula is going to bring me down, I think a small child might dip its hands in strawberry jam and head straight for my art portfolio or bookshelf. I get the same racing heart, the same, "dear God, what's it DOING?" feeling.

I think I've got tokophobia. That's a fun new word for you. It's the fear of pregnancy and childbirth (two words I loathe and wish I could delete). If you can add to it the irrational fear that a running child will trip me and send me flat on my face, then do.

The bottom line is this: I'm a grown woman who hates repeating herself. I haven't got it in me to have anything in my house except a cat (or 3), and a husband who tolerates cats. I like to travel. I have my art/writing/etc. I hate cooking and being pestered. And if I have to help anyone with algebra homework, I swear to God I will move to a cabin in the woods where it's just me, a word processor, and my cats. Anyone who asks me about kids after this, I will answer with only an angry glare and maybe a card with the address to this article. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Facebook and Diversity

I know a lot of people from many different backgrounds. I grew up in Memphis, TN, in the "Bible Belt." I married a guy from India and his family is Muslim. I live in New York City where all my friends are hairdressers and/or gay. I love all these people.

But what do a bunch of southern Christians, Ismaili Muslims, and gay hairdressers have in common?

They're all on my Facebook page!

So my timeline looks a lot like this:

Alexander McQueen Bumsters

I can't.

I feel a few different ways. I agree with some of my friends and family and I disagree with some of them (some a lot!). My other facebook friends who would see what I like and what I comment on would take loads of offense at some of the above stuff. So how does one go about making sure everyone's happy? You can't. You just post a picture of a kitty cat, avoid too many allusions to religion and sex and try not to break into a cold sweat when your mom and your dad's girlfriend comment on the same post.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Turning a new page (or two)

First of all ...
this is really the way my cat drinks water. Actor portrayal.
My actual cat doing this.

Things don't always go the way you planned. It's not always bad, but before you see the good, you can only register disappointment. Sometimes it's something you can control (maybe you messed up), sometimes not.

New York City is a hard place to try something new. When I arrived, I was completely overwhelmed by all the people and the cramped spaces and the sheer overload of the senses (and suddenly Philly didn't look so bad anymore). I was also taking on a completely new career: hair. During this time, I also tried self-publishing my novels. All good stuff to try, but sometimes life throws you a curve.

a hairstyle I can really be excited about
The hair industry is tied heavily to the fashion industry and to editorial styling, much of which I don't give two s**ts about (probably why I've been pushed out of certain salons -- even one I loved very much). My co-workers were all about experimenting with pairing bowties and suspenders with pleated jeans and shirts you could see straight through, and pants that may or may not have been pajama bottoms. I wore something I thought looked professional (and felt comfortable enough cleaning toilets in).

When I decided to get into hair, I thought the best I could expect was to sell makeup to people at Macy's or work at Supercuts. Neither of those options are what you do in NYC. You style celebrities. Or old people who've had a lot of cosmetic surgery and wish they looked 25. They complain about why no one wants to wear tailored clothes anymore to a person making less than minimum wage. Often it feels like you're dressing in your absolute best clothes and coiffing your hair to get on your hands and knees to scrub the bases of the chairs: the best dressed janitor in town.

Finally, though, something miraculous happens and you're able to get your hands on a client's hair to do some styling yourself, and go at it with such gusto that you give yourself carpal tunnel syndrome within the first two months.

Someone loves you, regardless.

So I went to get some acupuncture on my wrists and cut my hours back at work (at a place now where I feel like I finally fit in, which is a miracle in itself). The only glitch is that I'm not cutting any hair at this place, but trying to fill those gaps with freelance work.

Somewhere in all that, I lost my love of hair. I was excited about it at the beginning, but now I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall and it might be better to give up than to try another place and another and another.

One of the biggest draws about this city is that there are a million different options. At the beginning of my hair career, I understood that if one place didn't work out, I would eventually find my perfect match and everything would be fine. That is still true. Somewhere out there is a salon where I won't feel like everyone's sneering at my sparkly t-shirt and uncomplicated hair, where I can cut a client's hair and get paid for it, and where I don't feel like I have to put on a costume and a fake persona to fit in. That place exists. But can I stop feeling wounded enough to go find it?

I'm adding henna to my resume, and enjoying it very much. Since I've been drawing most of my life, I've picked this up relatively quickly, because it just involves drawing with a different medium. It's artistic and involves "beauty" without being either hair or makeup. Kind of a fresh start.

I've taken down a few of my self-published works in an effort to only showcase my best and try again with traditional publishing. It feels like a step backward, but it isn't. The hair thing will work itself out, hopefully without me having to become an office temp again. I'll get my henna practice in and book some parties. I'll find an agent who loves my fiction and maybe make a moderate living that way.

Sometimes you have to step back. Sometimes you have to try something new to get something to work. I'm sure all this headbanging will prove productive in the end as long as I'm adjusting my approach each time. Or at the very least, it'll look like I'm rocking out pretty hard.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Another Billionaire in Fiction

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because ain't nobody got time to check their own grammar.*

*N.B. This sentence was not checked by Grammarly, but the rest of the post was.

But seriously. Billionaires.

Maybe I'm jealous. A billionaire has never tried to sweep me off my feet. I'd wager a guess it's never happened to you, either. One thing is almost universally true, though: when you fall in love with a billionaire (or if you are one) in a novel, by the end of the story, the person with all the money has to become humble and admit there's more to life than riches. You get the boy or girl, and there's your happy, satisfying ending.

Sometimes I have a hard time feeling sorry for someone with gobs of money. Yes, maybe it's a much harder life than I realize, but you know what? I don't know. I earn tens of dollars doing what I do ... I don't want to hear about your difficult decision to pick the black or red Manolo Blahniks.

Gah. Who can decide?
I enjoy the occasional fantastical escape from my everyday life, and read about a faraway land or a job I wish I had (or even living life without a job). But jeez, reading about someone who can't find a good enough tiara cleaner is frankly not something I'm going to finish. 

Maybe it has to do with me living in New York. I have worked at some pretty classy places and served some rich people. My favorite comment from a client was, "I don't know why people have such a problem buying tailored clothing. Once you do it, you'll never wear anything else." Me, being a good customer service person, didn't hold her head underwater and shout, "I make minimum wage! Who the hell is going to tailor make me anything?" Then, she told me about some exquisite $3000 bedsheets that she only paid $300 for. SUCH A BARGAIN! She made me and my colleague promise to go check it out. When she left earshot, he turned to me and whispered, "I don't even have a bed!"

I don't like to write a bad review, especially for one of my fellow indies. This novella -- Uptown Girl by Holly Kinsella -- got me going, though. Emma is rich. She's a fashion model. A gorgeous, rich guy has a crush on her. Everything is perfect, and she's also kind of a bitch.

The story is basically this: Emma's car breaks down, so she takes it to a mechanic her dad recommends. That SOB mechanic wouldn't do a rush job on her car because he'd given his word to fix other people's first. I mean, what an all-out selfish, oafish a*****e! Well, she told him off. After that, that f*****g mechanic shows up at a family party. Everyone else thinks he's charming and smart, not seeing what a villain he really is. Emma gave him a piece of her mind all night -- and then her dad called her out on it! Turns out, the mechanic had once saved her dad's life, so in an instant, Emma changes her whole outlook on life. Money isn't as important. Her shallow friends aren't interesting anymore. And (fanfare, please) she falls madly in love with the mechanic because of his sparkling personality!

The whole story was too transparent, too easy. I didn't feel sympathy for the main character and didn't trust her change. Also, this novella could have been a novel if the author had "shown" instead of "told" the whole thing. Sorry, Holly.

The richness theme also pervaded Kyra Davis' Just One Night trilogy. The sexy hero is filthy rich and has so much power; he can't help flaunting it around.

A novel dealing with riches that I did enjoy (Worth Lying For by Lisa Cheney and Lisa Craig) involves a middle-aged woman finding a bag of money and having fun with it. Sure, we get some of the same brand name oggling, but it also involves regular life.

Maybe every reader likes to stick with something relatable to them. After all, if I find a book set in Memphis, or about someone having trouble on the subway, I'm more likely to enjoy the story.

Now, if only I could find a romance book about two people who have jobs I understand (no more "finding solace in the rigidity of numbers" BS) and daily problems I might also have, then I'll be happy.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Christian Music

Please, nobody get me wrong by what I'm about to say. I'm a Christian, no question. Have been my whole life (including a few bouts of doubt and thinking, "What if all this is just a bunch of crap?").

When I was a teenager, all I listened to was Christian music. They've got pop and alternative and so many cool bands. Even now when I go back and listen to it, I enjoy it (although the "True Love Waits" type lyrics seem a little outdated for me, being a married woman. Singing, "I don't want sex" is a blatant lie.)

Recently, I listened to some new music by some CCM artists I used to enjoy. I thought maybe they'd kept up with the times and they might be even better than I remembered. NO! They in fact suck. Did you know that with three guitar chords and the following list of words, you can write a Christian "pop" song?

  • Lord
  • Savior
  • Generation
  • Majesty
  • King
  • Tremble
  • Reign
  • Kingdom
  • Love (as a proper noun)
  • Glory
  • Jesus
  • Power
  • Perfect
  • Praise
  • Magnify
  • Adore
  • Lift (as in "We lift our voices and praise Your perfect sacrifice")
  • Bow
  • God
  • Glorify
  • Faith
  • Prayer
  • Sacrifice
  • Save
  • High (as in "Lord, we magnify and adore You and lift Your holy name on high")
  • Name
  • Holy
  • You, Yours, Him, His, etc (capitalized pronoun, referring to God... always makes me think I have to read it in italic, with extra special emphasis.)
Seriously, don't get me wrong. I love a well-written Christian song with lyrics that make me think. But I hate songs that make me sigh in frustration at hearing the same words over and over -- they don't mean anything. Just a string of cliches (and my writer friends know you need to stay away from cliches!).

For an example of something good, I enjoy Keith Green. He would reach right down into something very personal and then write a song. This is my favorite:

"Lord, I remember that special way I vowed to serve you when it was brand new. But like Peter, I can't even watch and pray one hour with you. And I'll bet I could deny you, too."
Wow, that's a difficult thing to confess, but it's right there inside us all. That's the kind of thing that stays with you, that you think about all day. Interchanging words from the above list might be alright -- and if I'm in a worship service and the leader pulls out one of these bad boys, it's all well and good (though I do prefer the older hymns). We're singing to God, not to entertain ourselves ... but when I put on a CD (or dial it up on my iPod, rather), I am listening to it for me, and I'd like to get more out of it than 3 chords and half a dozen words (repeated for 7 minutes).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Very Posh

When the Spice Girls dolls came out, my sister and I were in our late teens: young enough that playing with dolls was still something we wanted to do, but old enough that it "wasn't cool." When you're a huge dork like me and my sister were (sorry, Sharon, but you are/were), we were somewhere in the "I hate the Spice Girls" crowd and "I think I need every one of those dolls". These were troubling times, to say the least. I think I had a New Kids on the Block doll, and a guy from NSync (he was a marionette!), and the lot of them just had so many sexy times together, it's just not worth mentioning. Turns out, my sister had a bunch more "celebrity dolls", and we'll get to them later.
That brings us to today. We're both in our 30's now (barely), and playing with dolls is just not the same, even when pretending we're too good for it. It's gone from "let's pose them like they're in concert/at a photoshoot" to "I'm gonna take her face off and see what happens". And after 15 years of being in my mom's attic, Posh Spice doesn't look as put together as she once did. Her stiff hair's all loose and stupid looking. She's got on some other Barbie's dress (I recognize it, but couldn't tell you where it came from), and all her jewelry has been carefully removed. I don't know. I think she's seen better days.
Step 1: use acetone to remove factory paint
I could already tell this was going to be good. Look at that sculpt! It's beautiful! What the hell were those factory painters thinking slapping on that garish color like she was just some $5 "Fashion Doll". This is supposed to represent a real human being. The sculptor understood that.

Step 2: start painting
This is where the fun is. I like to find a photo that best captures the person and base my repaint after it. I take general coloring, eyebrow placement, lip shape, etc from it, and go to town. People always told me oil painting was hard, but I don't see it at all. So easy to blend and dab on with my teeny tiny paintbrush... downright relaxing.

Step 3: build on what you painted the day before
The pesky thing with oil paint is that you have to let it sit SO LONG to dry. A person like me wants to take the next 14 hours and finish it all in one sitting (and then never touch it again because I've burned myself out). That's what's hard about oil painting. Waiting. 
Step 4: Cut and style the hair
 Okay. A g-bob on an 11.5" fashion doll. It's a hard cut to do on a human being. It's hard on a doll, too. But dammit, look at that thing. Sure, I've got it secured with a clear elastic band (letting the water/hairspray mixture dry), but that is cute as a button. She's also got a nice profile.

Still working on getting her 100% finished. Not sure what kind of dress I'll put her in, since the original is long gone.

Should I put her up for sale?

EDIT: YES! I should put her up for sale. If you'd like to own this piece of awesome, check out her store page on Etsy!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Giving it away!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Silent Treatment by Melanie Surani

The Silent Treatment

by Melanie Surani

Giveaway ends July 20, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Exchange in Eichstätt by Melanie Surani

Exchange in Eichstätt

by Melanie Surani

Giveaway ends July 20, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Study Abroad

Ten years ago (what??), I went to Germany for a month. At the time, it was the farthest I'd been from home. I guess it still is, since I haven't travelled any more to the east... 
I would have blogged about it back then, but all I had was Xanga (which, I used to death, and might have said something. I've long since lost my password, and haven't got the patience to guess words for the next hour). Heck, Facebook wasn't even around then (as far as I know), or I would have kept up with more of my classmates.

I was on the yearbook committee!

A sign we all liked for its specific request

Since digital cameras also weren't as common back then, I have physical photos. Here, you can see me taking a smartphone pic through the photo album plastic.

It made sense for me to want to write about a place that had such an impact on me, but it took a while to get the story just right. Not just anything could happen there -- had to be something interesting. Also, writing a thinly-veilled autobiographic "fiction" piece didn't interest me one bit. Myself as the main character is one of the more boring things I can think about.

Marienplatz, Munich

My stories start at a specific place: a scene I think about over and over. "Wow, that's interesting," I'll think to myself. But how did those characters get into such a predicament? I work backward and forward from there. I've tried writing about an experience I've been through, but it always turns into some melodramatic "woe is me" piece, and I threw them all away before anyone found them.

Where the epic fight (in the novel) starts and finishes

However, I love including places I've been as settings. The Silent Treatment is set in Memphis, where I grew up. I included street names and neighborhoods I'd been to for 20-something years. While some of my experiences will worm their way into the characters, it'll never be: Here's the story of my first day at work.

Do Not Spoil the Ending toyed with Toronto (though I'd like a do-over with the location -- I think I can place a more interesting story there). The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is set in New York City (where I live now). Since Kat Shergill's past put her in Philadelphia, I wouldn't mind exploring that a bit more too. And please rest assured something in the future will be set in Paris, because it's a beautiful, delicious city.

Last, but not least, Exchange in Eichstätt is officially available! Get your ebook now -- or if you prefer a paperback, I'll be releasing it very, very soon (formatting and cover design take a lot of tedious work).

Thanks to all my readers -- I hope you enjoy this latest installment.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chapter One...

There's nothing like a trip to Paris to derail your blog updates, right?
Me totally behaving myself at the Louvre
Also, the pink hair's gone now. Some things are awesome for a little while, and then it's okay to go back to something that doesn't make people double-take.

First things first: I finished Exchange in Eichstätt (Kat Shergill Mystery 2). While I'm polishing up the last bit of editing, you can enjoy the first chapter here: (click). You're more than welcome to send comments/concerns before the whole thing goes live.

Also, I finished a few books (reading), and I have some thoughts.

The Stranger -- Kyra Davis
This is a trilogy, of which I've only read the first 2 parts. With part 3 now available, I ought to get on that.
So, this is erotica. I struggled through Fifty Shades of Gray (shouldn't say that... I didn't get through it because of all the cringing), and thought there had to be something better than this if I wanted to read a sexy story. Since I'm a fan of Kyra Davis' mystery books, I got right on board.
The good news: it's better than 50 Shades. The bad news: the story deals with domination. Instead of feeling sexy, sometimes I just wanted to not be around the male protagonist. Oh really? You'll allow me to do this? You want me to ask you specifically for X sexy favor? You've got a special acceptable behavior for me? How about you go **** yourself?
Granted, this specific area is touchy for me and is not the fault of the author.

The Hunger Games -- Suzanne Collins
I stayed away from this trilogy because it's YA. I'm not a teenager, so I didn't think it would be for me. I was wrong, and I'm okay with that. The characters were real and relatable, and the suspense/drama/danger stayed tight throughout. At the end, I felt drained and sad, and I wanted to pick up the first book again immediately and re-read the whole thing.

I Can Barely Take Care of Myself -- Jen Kirkman
If you're a person who wants children, you won't enjoy this book. On the other hand, I can't imagine my life WITH one, and can't understand why it's so important for other people. Reading this book was one big, "Yeah! I agree with you!" fest. Also, all these "don't ruin your life with a pregnancy" ads have done nothing to change my mind.

Thanks, terrifying ad on the subway! I will never be letting any babies in my house.
Okay, back to something that's not so scary. Stephen King.

Misery -- Stephen King
Now, I've got to say, I love me some Stephen King, and I've probably already gone off about it at length. I'm much happier, though, when he stays away from creatures and focuses on the evils that live in people's hearts. That's the stuff that's really scary ... something unassuming (an ex-nurse, for example), but hiding something disturbing.
The fun thing about reading a horror novel is that sometimes you're reading along, all suspensed-up, and then something gruesome happens (like the person's head comes off). I get the book away from me and shut my eyes. But this isn't like a scary movie: the pictures are in my head, and they stay there. So I open my eyes and check out the ads in the subway...

OH MY GOD!!!!!!
The fun thing about Misery was that it was about a writer with a crazy fan. Maybe I'll never crash my car and be nursed back to health by my "umber whuun fayunn", but the way King describes writing is exactly how I feel about it. "Falling into the hole in the paper"... very accurate (also for reading). And I'll bet if my freedom was contingent on me leaving the one and only copy of my novel behind, I might not leave either (not really a spoiler).