Wednesday, January 29, 2014

On My Radar

You may have noticed that I'm crappy at blogging. Or maybe you haven't, since I have such a problem keeping up with it. Here's the thing. I'm boring. I get up. I go to work. I come home. I go running. I maybe crochet a little. I read, I watch some TV, I write. That's my life. I find it impossible to believe that anyone would find it remotely interesting.

So I'm going to try a new thing. (Hopefully) weekly, I'll try to do a little something called On My Radar. My reaction to a new book or current TV show, etc, articles I read, etc, etc, etc.

On my radar this week:

On TV: I am still reeling from last week's Sleepy Hollow finale. No spoilers--but holy crap. I was starting to get a little...not bored, exactly, but impatient with SH. It seemed like a collection of zany adventures, rather than a linear series of stories contributing to a major arc. I'm really glad I stuck with it, because the SH writers just proved they're smarter than me.

On Downton Abbey, this Anna/Bates storyline is killing me. Killing me. It really needs to resolve soon, because I don't know how much longer I can stick it out. Seriously, I find myself getting physically nauseous every time we go to start it up. On the bright side, it has prompted some really intelligent, thoughtful discussions on the interwebs re: the portrayal of rape in fiction, and the sorts of behaviors and fears of victims and their families that lead to sexual assaults going unreported.

In Books: I finally did it. My good friend April, who now blogs over at the Starry-Eyed Revue, has been harassing me for over a year to give the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead a try. But there are so many of those types of books (vampire school! werewolf academy! witch prep!) that I was reluctant to give it a try, afraid I'd find more of the same. I'm glad I did. They were original (at least, I thought so) and engaging, the kind of books I thought about even when I wasn't reading them.

In The Media: Two words: Plague ships! If you're a writer looking for inspiration, you need look no further than the two vaguely parallel cruise ship stories that came out this week, one about a ship full of cannabalistic rats hurtling toward England's coast, the other about a norovirus that swept through a cruise ship full of vacationers and ruined everyone's holiday.

Also, Bieber got arrested. Take heart, good people...he might not be in jail, but he could still be deported!

In Real Life: Still working on the granny square afghan; hopefully I can post some pics soon. I have learned my tolerance to cold is much higher (or lower!) than I thought; the dogs and I can safely run in 10 degree F with no side effects, though I did buy some Musher's Secret, just in case.

That's it for this week--check back next week, and we'll see if I can keep it up!

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Fox On The Wall

I first saw him right after Christmas. It made sense; a family loading up their Christmas loot, screaming kids hopped up on sugar--he got left behind. And some kind passerby propped him up on a nearby stone wall, hoping someone would see him and claim him.

A week went by, and no one did. I tried to rescue him at that point, but after being left out in the snow and the cold, his poor fur had frozen to the stone, and I was afraid to tear it. I promised him I'd be back. My dog Dobby became strangely attached to him, wagging his tail hello every time we passed.

After two weeks of crappy weather, we had a thaw, and I was finally able to bring his sad, soggy self home.

He went right into the hot water wash, since he'd been out in the elements for a while and had probably picked up some kind of fox herpes or something. My dog Dobby was deeply concerned for him and sat by the washer, waiting. 

He emerged unscathed, and much fluffier and sweeter-smelling. 

If you know a kid missing a fox of his description, please let me know--I'd like to make every effort to get him home. If not, Ylvis will have a happy life with the Sylvans.  

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Basement Kitteh

In December, I had a bit of a lapse in blogging, though I have some excuses. Granted, they are feeble excuses, but I'm going to milk them for all they're worth.

One of these is the saga of Basement Kitteh. In mid-November, we were adopted by a stray cat. We fed her outside (you may recall my post here about building an outdoor cat shelter) but the weather was deteriorating, I was concerned she might be pregnant. The closest shelter with any room for her was an hour-and-a-half away, and required confirmation of pregnancy and an FELV/FIV test, and vaccinations if she wasn't pregnant. Basically, we had to bring her inside.

Unfortunately, my cat Neville has severe vaccine allergies and can't have any shots, so outside kitty had to be quarantined in my dog's old crate in the basement. And thus, the name Basement Kitteh was born, and stuck.

We brought her in on a Friday; I made a vet appointment for Monday. Then came the plot twist. Basement Kitteh must have tussled with another cat while she was outside, because she suddenly came up with a massive abscess under her jaw. So Monday's simple tech appointment became a full exam with an expensive antibiotic injection, and a delay in taking her to the shelter (since she couldn't get her shots until the infection had healed). The only good news? FELV/FIV negative, and not pregnant.

Waiting out the abscess took nearly two weeks; coordinating vaccines and transport another week. All this time, we kept Basement Kitteh downstairs; she was tame and friendly, but skittish, and I was pretty sure my two rambunctious dogs would be too much for her. Of course, I wasn't about to plunk her downstairs and leave her, so I made sure to spend as much time as I could with her every day. Caring for her took up a lot of my time.

It's weird; after three weeks, you'd think I'd have a hard time giving her up. But I knew from the beginning that wasn't going to be the case. Both my cats came to me as strays (literally, from across a crowded parking lot and a street, respectively), and Basement Kitteh came to me the exact same way. But whereas I never had any doubt that Neville and Hermione were supposed to be mine, I didn't feel that way with Basement Kitteh. I was supposed to help her, but I was only a stop on her journey, not the final destination.

A huge shout-out must go to BARKS in Byram Twp, NJ, and to my cousin Cheryl who found a place for Basement Kitteh. She's still up for adoption, under the name Mary, so if you're looking for a sweet kitty friend who's shy but so very, very sweet, give them a call. BARKS has lots of other cats and dogs looking for their forever homes, so if you live in the area, be sure to check them out!

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

My Favorite Things Giveaway: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

It's that time again! Time once more for me to give you a copy of my book and a copy of a book I've fallen head over heels for.

This month, that book is These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, recommended to me by my good friend April over at Sim~Sational~Books. I was dubious at first; I didn't think anyone could do YA sci-fi in space like Beth Revis, and I've also about had it with girls in floaty dresses on book covers. I'm so glad I took a chance on it. I read a lot of books this year (113, to be exact) but to be honest, this year was pretty thin on the ground in terms of being blown away by new fiction. This was absolutely one of, if not the, standout of the year for me.

And I'm going to give you one! Simply enter via the Rafflecopter thingy below, and in a week's time the winner will receive one ebook copy of These Broken Stars and one ebook copy of my book Blind Study. 

Best of luck!

Also, my deepest apologies to Meagan Spooner...I somehow forgot that this book was co-authored, and didn't remember until the settings in Rafflecopter were final. I didn't mean to rob you of credit for writing this awesome book!

Also also...Rafflecopter is apparently being kind of a tool. If anyone is having trouble with the widget below and unable to enter, please email me at jacquelynsylvanATgmailDOTcom, and I will put your entry in manually.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, January 3, 2014


Yes, I know resolution posts are a dime-a-dozen this time of year, but I'd still like to do one. So, without further ado:

1. Learn Swedish. My husband is Swedish, and I don't mean like I'm Scots-Irish. I mean actually Swedish, as in spent the first twenty-five years of his life there. Personally, I feel it's inexcusable that I don't speak Swedish. Those of you who know me know that this is not my first, or second, or even third attempt. But yesterday I upgraded my Babbel account to give me access to the grammar lessons (which, for me, is the part I've had the most trouble with). My hope is to attempt to switch to all-Swedish at home by the end of the year.

2. Keep on truckin'. If you've been following the blog, you know that I started running this year, originally meaning simply to run 2-3 times/week, but, thanks to my dogs (who I now refer to as my personal trainers) we're doing 2 miles 5-6 days/week, depending on the weather. Wore the rubber on my shoes straight through in some places.
Old shoes on the right, new shoes on the left. Same brand, slight difference in tread after all that running!

And I not only intend to keep that up, but I'd like to increase my distance a few times a week. I'd also like to run at least one 5k this year.

3. Publish at least one more book. Already working on it. I'm hoping to have it up in the next two-three months.

4. Blog more often. Of my four resolutions, this is the one I'm pretty sure I'm going to fail at. I could use your help--if you see me slacking, get in touch on Facebook or Twitter! We all need a kick in the pants sometimes!

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