Fair Warning: If you came here for one of my usual crime fiction blog posts, my apologies. This is going to be just a little different. Do come back tomorrow, though, for your regularly scheduled crime fiction post.
Still here? Thanks!
I don’t normally do this sort of post, but Tommy and Tuppence, the feline overlords who are ably served by FictionFan, have tagged me for the Six Questions Tag. And honestly, I’m a bit afraid to do anything counter to their wishes. So… here goes.
One Beauty Product You Would Recommend to Your Girlfriends
OK, ready, ladies? Listen closely, because I’m only going to say this once. Smile. That’s right. Smile. Your own smile is your most potent beauty product, guaranteed to work every time. Smiles are welcoming and friendly, and they put people at their ease.
How do I know? I conducted intensive research with the assistance of
my husband, who was happy to share what he thinks is beautiful in women an expert. So you don’t have to just take my word for it. This comes from real authority!
Three Books Everyone Must Read
This was really difficult for me, because I don’t very much like to be prescriptive about what adults should read. Besides, there are so many excellent books out there, from all over the world. But here are a few of my ideas.
At least one or two of Shakespeare’s plays
These stories have it all. Sex, money and greed, family dysfunction, murder, war, wit, sly political statements, you name it. So there’s something about the human condition to capture nearly any reader’s attention. More to the point, Shakespeare’s work has become such an integral part of Western culture that you really need to have a sense of it in order to have a sense of Western culture. If it’s been a while since you read some of Shakespeare’s work, there’s no harm in re-reading.
Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein
You may not think you like science fiction (actually, it’s not my genre, as a rule – it really isn’t). But this novel is (at least for me) a lot more than a sci-fi story. It’s a look at the way we think, at an outsider’s perception of humans, and what it’s like to re-think everything. As Heinlein himself said: ‘each reader gets something different out of that book because he himself supplies the answers . . . . It is an invitation to think — not to believe.’
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
I admit, I have a very soft spot for Agatha Christie. But this particular novel really did have a profound impact on the crime fiction genre. And although plenty of people don’t regard it as Christie’s very best, it does show her skill at leading readers up the proverbial garden path.
As I look over this list, I see just how limited it really is. There are dozens of other novels from other places that I think everyone ought to read. But there could never be room in just one post for all of them.
Favourite Online Shopping Site
We may not like them, but Amazon has the whole online shopping experience sewn up. I can’t say I’m overly proud of this, but it is a really convenient way to shop…
Favourite ‘Phone App
What do I like best? My ‘phone’s camera. If you’re kind enough to read my blog on anything like a regular basis, you’ll know that I always include a picture with each post. Most of them are taken with my ‘phone. I wouldn’t be without it.
One Dish You Are Really Good at Making and its Recipe
Let me start by saying that it’s hard to be a gourmet chef if you are a writer with a ‘day job.’ Most of the time, you’re happy to find recipes that basically cook themselves. I see you nodding your heads, fellow writers.
And that’s the beauty of this particular recipe, which
my family members well-qualified culinary experts have heartily endorsed. Sorry, vegetarian friends, this one’s a meat dish.
Chicken and Rice
5-6 chicken thighs (kosher or free-range is best). I’ve found that six serves four adults.
2 cups rice (organic rice, if that’s your preference)
4 cups water
1 package dry onion/mushroom soup mix
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F
Place chicken in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch/33 x 23 x 5 cm pan. Add in the rice and water. Stir once. Then sprinkle about half the soup mix on the chicken. Stir the other half in with the rice and water. Cover tightly with a lid or with aluminum foil.
Put in the oven and completely ignore for the next two hours.
When the kitchen alarm goes off, stop writing, get up and take the dish out of the oven. Serve to hungry family members.
See? It’s really easy.
Five Movies that I Can Watch Over and Over Again
Shadow of a Doubt – Alfred Hitchcock
I admit to being a fan of Hitchcock’s work. This happens to be one of my tops. There’s a real buildup of (non-gory!) suspense as a young woman begins to suspect that her uncle is not all he seems to be. Even though I know the ending, I can still watch it any time.
The Big Chill – Lawrence Kasdan
This is a terrific story of a group of former college friends who get together when one of their number dies. It’s so much better than that description, though. There’s wit, deep friendship, a really interesting storyline, and some terrific dialogue. And William Hurt. If you’ve ever had a group of friends you could rely on, even at two in the morning, this film will resonate.
The Sting – George Roy Hill
What a great film about likeable grifters. Every time I see that film, I see something else in it that I didn’t notice before. May I particularly call your attention to the terrific train scene. Just sayin’…
The Godfather – Francis Ford Coppola
Need I say more? It’s a game-changing film based on an excellent novel. And, incidentally, it’s one of the very few films that inspired a really good sequel. This one shows Al Pacino doing some of his best. Work. Ever.
The Graduate – Mike Nichols
Oh, come on! A young Dustin Hoffman in that sports car? That Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack? That anti-suburbia Establishment message? It’s a classic. And did I mention Dustin Hoffman?
Hey, it’s my blog 😉 – Here are a few other films I absolutely love:
Raiders of the Lost Ark – Steven Spielberg
The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Jim Sharman
Rear Window – Alfred Hitchcock
Gone, Baby, Gone – Ben Affleck
*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s My Favorite Things.